Crowd downtown in Nashville

Nearly 200,000 people descended upon Broadway downtown on Thursday for the first round of the NFL Draft.

NASHVILLE, TENN. (WSMV) - We've known that Nashville has been a top destination for tourists nationwide, but 2019 was a record-setting year for Music City. 

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau reports that the tourism industry broke another record, with 16.1 million visitors to the city in 2019. That's a 6% increase from 2018's 15.2 million visitors. 

The second record was broken at the Jack Daniel's Music City Midnight: New Year's Eve in Nashville with more than 200,000 people in attendance and an all-time high $26.6 million in direct spending. 

Throughout the whole year, tourism spending in Nashville topped more than $7 billion. 

"Pretty much eight years in a row of unbelievable performance," says Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitor's Corp. "We are literally leading the nation in hotel metrics. We thought maybe we could do it for a few years... but what's happened here is a testimony to what the city is and how desirable it is."

A major part of the spending in Nashville was spent on hotels. Nashville sold the same number of hotel rooms as other big cities like Tampa and Philadelphia, and we sold more hotel rooms than cities like Austin, New Orleans and Charleston, just to name a few.

This year, Nashville will see more than 5,000 hotel rooms open and more than 9,000 others still in the final planning stages. 

People also spent a lot of money on Nashville's food scene. More than 100 new restaurants and bars opened last year and an additional 100 will open this year, as well.

"I thought we would have maxed last year, but at this point I think 2020 will top 2019," says Spyridon. "The growth amount will shrink a little bit but we're not seeing any signs of a downward trend at all." is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Meteorologist / Reporter

Melanie Layden is the weekend morning meteorologist at WSMV. She also has a segment during the week called "Growing Nashville" where she covers the growth of Music City. Melanie has been Working 4 You since 2014.

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