The Bluff City's reputation as an international tourism destination has been reconfirmed for 2023 travelers.
Condé Nast Traveler named Memphis one of the global “23 Best Places to Go in 2023” and “23 Best Places to Go in the U.S. in 2023.”
“Nashville claims a lot of national buzz, but the city of Memphis has been quietly reshaping itself to be the hottest destination in Tennessee,” Kelsey Ogletree wrote in the Conde’ Nast Traveler piece. “Over the past decade, its downtown has invested billions in revitalization projects — and now, visitors can begin reaping the benefits.”
Along with the central California coast, Memphis was one of only two destinations in America featured in the international list, which covers 22 countries and six continents. The annual list is selected from a group of well-traveled editors and writers who provide insight to readers what places they may want to go to over the next 12 months.
Among the highlights from the publications and reasons why Memphis was among the listed as a potential global and domestic travel destination next year included the $61 million redesigned Tom Lee Park, expected to be completed in mid-2023; and the 2022 opening of hotel properties such as the $41 million, 136-room Caption by Hyatt at One Beale — which was the first Caption built in the U.S. and the world — and the $24 million, 106-room Memphian at Overton Square.
Condé Nast Traveler has a 16 million digital unique users, 16 million social followers, and 5 million monthly print readers.
The PR team at Memphis Tourism — the official destination marketing arm for Shelby County — worked with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to highlight the progress taking place in the city to the Condé Nast Travelereditorial department.
“This is an accolade that celebrates our city and destination. Recognized and endorsed by a global brand such as Condé Nast Traveleris an incredible honor and speaks not only to the strength of our music and culinary scene, but to the tremendous investment in tourism infrastructure that has taken place here in the Home of Blues, Soul, and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Kevin Kane, president and CEO of Memphis Tourism, said in a press release. “Tourism is an economic engine for our community, and the Memphis destination continues to outperform the national recovery rate in hotel room night demand and has outperformed pre-pandemic levels of 2019 during several months in 2022.”
Memphis received 10.7 million visitors in 2021, with a local economic impact of nearly $4 billion dollars from visitor spending at hotels, restaurants, attractions, and retailers. That mark still lagged from the record-breaking 12.4 million visitors in 2019.
According to economic impact data on Tennessee tourism for 2021, Shelby County generated $3.4 billion in direct visitor spending. Of that total, $1.17 billion went to food and beverage; $826 million to transportation; $544 million for accommodations; and $466 million in retail spending. The report found that nearly 24,000 Shelby County jobs were directly tied to visitor spending, as well as $1.03 billion in direct labor income.
This isn’t Memphis' first time receiving prominent recognition as a tourist destination.
The city was previously touted in Time magazine’s “World’s Greatest Places” in 2021, Forbes’ “25 Best Places to visit in 2020,” Frommer’s Best Places to Go” in 2019, and Fodor’s “Go List” in 2018.