Ocoee River Brings Big Economic Impact To Region

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 5/22/2013 7:01 pm
Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River does more than fuel excitement, it fuels dozens of businesses, hundreds of jobs, and millions in tax revenue for the tri-state area.

Steve Morse, an economist and associate professor at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, says, "We found that visitors spending in this area generates a lot of jobs and a lot to the local economy."

But just how much money is being pumped into the surrounding 30 counties?

Well, according to a study just released by the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, $43.8 million dollars.

Morse adds, "We also noted that the Ocoee River is the most visited whitewater rafting river in America now. So, it's a great asset for Chattanooga to have in this area."

You may be surprised to know that more women fly down these rapids then men.

Sutton Bacon, the chief executive officer for the Nantahala Center, says, "I think the fact that more women raft the Ocoee than men is indicative of a larger travel and tourism trend where women are making travel decisions on behalf of their families."

The university's recent study shows this is now a natural asset that doesn't just benefit the 622 workers here, but an entire region, and surveyors say the future doesn't look rocky.

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville conducted the study from 2012 statistics.

The Ocoee River was, of course, home for the whitewater canoe and kayak events for the 1996 Summer Olympics.
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