Blackburn, Hickenlooper Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Increase Music Tourism In U.S.

April 30, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) today introduced the bipartisan American Music Tourism Act to support and increase music tourism for both domestic and international visitors.

“Tennesseans know a thing or two about the positive impact that music tourism has on the economy and culture,” said Senator Blackburn. “The Volunteer State is proud to be home to so many iconic musical landmarks for tourists to enjoy – from Graceland in Memphis to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol. This bipartisan legislation promotes music tourism’s fast-growing industry and ensures fans from all over the world can celebrate the rich history of music for generations to come.”

“Music venues are keepers of our culture. From Red Rocks to the Grand Ole Opry, and hundreds of small venues across our country, millions visit Colorado and all our states to hear world class musicians and connect with each other,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “Our bipartisan American Music Tourism Act will support these venues by helping our music tourism industry grow and expand.”


This legislation is supported by the Recording Academy, the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, the Recording Industry Association of America, Live Nation Entertainment, the National Independent Venues Association, Tennessee Department of Tourism Development, Tennessee Entertainment Commission, Memphis Tourism, Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, the Overton Park Shell, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass. 

“The Recording Academy is pleased to support the American Music Tourism Act and applauds Senators Blackburn and Hickenlooper for their continued dedication to lifting up the music community. Music has long played an important role in our economy and culture. This bill will amplify the music community’s contributions to economic growth and increase understanding of music’s impact on the U.S. and the world,” said Todd Dupler, Chief Advocacy and Public Policy Officer of the Recording Academy.

“The Nashville Songwriters Association International is glad to lend our support to the American Music Tourism Act. As owners of an iconic music venue, The Bluebird Café, we acutely understand the impact of music on tourism dollars. With the music tourism market expected to reach $11.3 billion in revenue by 2032, and since the United States is one of the main beneficiaries of music tourism, it is essential that the Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism identify and promote musical sites of significance,” said Bart Herbison, Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International.

“From the historic Grand Ole Opry to the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival, America’s music story comes alive at iconic venues and landmarks all across the country. We applaud Senators Blackburn and Hickenlooper for introducing the American Music Tourism Act, which will encourage even more music fans to experience the rich legacy of American music firsthand,” said Mitch Glazier, Chairman & CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.

“In Nashville, Memphis, and countless other communities across the country, a vibrant live music scene is an economic magnet that draws fans from around the globe. The American Music Tourism Act is an important piece of legislation that will help ensure live music remains a pillar of American culture and tourism, and we’d like to thank the Senator for her leadership on this issue,” said Sally Williams, President of Nashville Music and Business Strategy for Live Nation Entertainment.

“From rural communities to city centers, independent stages attract investment and visitors for the artists and professionals that put on shows and the restaurants, retail, and attractions around them. The American Music Tourism Act finally recognizes music tourism as a catalyst for economic development and ensures its growth is a national priority. We applaud Senators Marsha Blackburn and John Hickenlooper for aligning the nation’s tourism strategy with the venues and festivals across our country that the world travels to experience,” said Stephen Parker, Executive Director of the National Independent Venue Association.

“As the proud home to world-renowned attractions like Graceland, Grand Ole Opry, Dollywood, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Tennessee's tourism industry thrives on our rich musical heritage. The American Music Tourism Act reflects our agency’s dedication to preserving this legacy and bolstering our state’s global music appeal. By championing our diverse creative talent and attractions, we believe this legislation can bolster economic growth and draw visitors seeking authentic American music experiences,” said Mark Ezell, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

“For decades, Tennessee has maintained its reputation as a mecca for music tourism attracting both domestic and global audiences alike. Our State’s uniquely positioned musical legacy has become a valuable tool in shaping cultural pride, economic growth, and community development across all grand divisions. The American Music Tourism Act promotes and supports our distinctive destinations and music heritage, preserving what makes Tennessee a truly exceptional place to visit,” said Bob Raines, Executive Director of the Tennessee Entertainment Commission.



“Music is Memphis’ primary travel motivator, as it brings in both domestic and international visitors year-round. Visitors from around the world choose Memphis as a vacation destination for our live music, musical attractions, as well as to see and learn about our talented musicians of the past, present and future. Tourism is currently a 6-billion-dollar industry for Memphis and Shelby County. The American Music and Tourism Act will allow for the preservation of all areas of our music industry and will be essential to the sustainability and future of tourism,” said Kevin Kane, President and CEO of Memphis Tourism.

“Music tourism is of vital importance to Tennessee, but specifically to Pigeon Forge. Last year, more than eight million people visited our destination, many of whom came in search of musical entertainment. In addition to a highly successfully musical theater community, we are especially proud that Dolly Parton, one of the world’s most celebrated musicians and prolific songwriters, and her Dollywood theme park give so many visitors reasons to visit time and time again. The Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism has a vital role in promoting and increasing tourism for both domestic and international visitors. On behalf of Pigeon Forge and other Tennessee destinations that rely on music-seeking visitors, I encourage the Assistant Secretary to expand these efforts through the American Music Tourism Act,” said Leon Downey, Executive Director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

“The historic Overton Park Shell of Memphis, Tennessee is thrilled to lend our support to the American Music Tourism Act. As stewards of our iconic venue which was home to Elvis Presley's first live performance in 1954, The Overton Park Shell acutely understands the impact of music on tourism dollars. Amplifying the work of cultural assets will have a ripple effect to the economic impact that these entities bring to our Country and the legacy of American music known worldwide,” said Natalie Wilson, Executive Director of the Overton Park Shell.

“On behalf of Jazz Aspen Snowmass—a 501C3 Not for Profit organization founded in 1991 whose Mission is to Present & Preserve jazz and related forms of music, through entertainment/performance and year-round education— we would like to offer our enthusiastic endorsement of the American Music Tourism Act. Our organization historically attracts nearly 2/3 of our live audiences from outside the Roaring Fork Valley, elsewhere in CO and throughout the USA. Our organization would not be able to survive and thrive as we have through decades without the reality of Music Tourism. Yet it remains a fact that this kind of organized government support is irreplaceable going forward. The music industry needs this support now,” said James Horowitz, President and Founder of Jazz Aspen Snowmass.


  • Music tourism – both the act of visiting sites important to the history of American music culture and the act of traveling for current concerts and music festivals – is a vital industry for American culture and an economic driver for our communities.
  • Music tourism has emerged as a top travel trend, with the market forecasted to reach $11.3 billion in revenue by 2032.
  • The United States, which boasts one of world’s largest music industries that generates over $43 billion in revenue each year, is one of the main beneficiaries of this international interest in music tourism.
  • The Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism is uniquely positioned to identify and promote sites of musical significance. 
  • The American Music Tourism Act would leverage this existing framework within the Department of Commerce to highlight and promote music tourism in the United States. 
  • Specifically, the American Music Tourism Act would:
    • Require the Assistant Secretary to implement a plan to support and increase music tourism for both domestic and international visitors; and
    • Require a report to Congress on the successes and vulnerabilities of the Assistant Secretary’s goals to increase travel and tourism.

Click here for bill text.