Help wanted: Tennessee seeks employees for thriving leisure and hospitality industry

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) and HospitalityTN are joining forces to attract workers to the state’s thriving leisure and hospitality industry. The new “Come Work, Come Play” campaign launched today and urges prospective employees to consider hospitality jobs for their flexible hours, career advancement opportunities and strong sense of community. The state’s No. 2 industry is experiencing a travel resurgence as hotels, restaurants and attractions experience their highest growth rates since the pandemic. Interested job seekers can visit and search open hospitality positions in Tennessee listed by category.

Tens of thousands of Tennesseans lost their jobs during the pandemic and the leisure and hospitality industry was hit the hardest, accounting for 72.3% of net jobs lost in the state over 2019 according to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Tennessee’s Leisure and hospitality industry did add 9,100 jobs in April 2021. Prior to the pandemic, leisure and hospitality had the highest year-over-year growth for any industry, with 349,000 total employees among arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services. Today, the industry employs roughly 302,200 Tennesseans (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

“There is truly no better place to live, work and play than right here in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “We’re eager to partner with HospitalityTN and do our part in getting Tennesseans back to work and positioning our state for success as travel returns.”

Rob Mortensen, President and CEO of HospitalityTN added, “Tennessee is an amazing place to work and play! Our most valuable resource is our people. No matter what you do, where you go or where you work, you will find that we all stand together for a better Tennessee. This administration has stepped up in so many ways during the last year, and this is yet another example of our governor and his team going above and beyond the call for action. We are excited and proud to work with the Department of Tourist Development to help get folks back to work and back to living their best Tennessee life! Thank you Commissioner Ezell and team for making a difference and changing lives!”

Created by marketing agency VMLY&R, the digital campaign marks the first joint workforce development effort for TDTD and HospitalityTN and aims to engage prospective employees at all levels, from college-minded students seeking part-time jobs to retirees looking to supplement their income. Videos and digital ads showcase Tennessee’s greatest assets such as working among the great outdoors, in world-renowned concert venues or with award-winning chefs. Digital ads will run in major markets across Tennessee and in out-of-state markets that show a high propensity for relocation including Austin, Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Washington D.C.

As travel resurges, recruiting workers back to the industry is critical. Tennessee is outpacing the recovery nationwide, according to weekly hotel reports by STR. May 2021 saw the highest occupancy statewide since November 2019. Tennessee remains a top destination for travelers. According to Arrivalist, trips to Tennessee were 9.6% higher in April 2021 compared to April 2019.

Nearly four in 10 (38%) Americans start their career in a travel-related job, according to U.S. Travel. Furthermore, travel is the No. 1 industry for Americans reentering the workforce due to its flexible hours, entry level opportunities, acceptance of all backgrounds, diversity of available work and sheer size.

Business owners can take advantage of the campaign through August by posting open jobs at

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About the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll-delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” In 2019, Tennessee’s tourism industry generated $23.27 billion in economic impact, more than $1.92 billion in state and local tax revenue and 195,000 tourism-related jobs. Explore more at and join other Tennessee travelers by following “tnvacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube or “Tennessee” on Snapchat.

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