Facebook Helps Tell Tennessee’s
National Tourism Week Story
The Peabody Ducks Celebrate Tourism Week
Busy and creative Tennessee tourism professionals took the opportunity to present the state’s attractions, culture and nature to the masses during the 26th annual National Travel & Tourism Week observed in May. Celebrations were statewide, from the march of the Peabody Ducks down Beale Street in Memphis, thru Nashville’s Opry Mills Mall Discover Tennessee travel expo, to the Chattanooga Welcome Center Coca-Cola and Moon Pie give-aways. The state’s 13 welcome centers participated with highlights including live music in Dyersburg, pecan pies in Hartford and free lodging and meals in Bristol.
Several of Tennessee’s tourism professionals shared their week-long experiences with pictures on Facebook. The hugely popular social media network not only included the human “faces of travel” but animal faces too: ducks that march; owls that hoot; snakes that cuddle; and an array of animal mascots including fish and bears.
Hartford Welcome Center visitors celebrate
National Travel and Tourism Week
However, the real “faces of travel” included hard working entertainers, park rangers, artisans, representatives from attractions, lodging, chambers of commerce, as well as state and local tourism offices. Each year, these people set aside their busy day-to-day responsibilities in order to display Tennessee’s finest tourism assets. For Connie Holbert of Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tourism Week meant traveling to 11 of the state’s welcome centers. In Facebook she writes:
Connie Holbert I am on the first day of my trip in Chattanooga. I have already been to Bristol and Hartford Welcome Centers today. I will be back at work on the 18th. I am going…to all Tennessee Welcome Centers. It will be a busy week!
May 9 at 8:46pm • Comment • Like Unlike • Show Feedback (2)Hide Feedback (2)
Seven days later, after traveling nearly 1600 miles and taking the Dixie Stampede story to 11 Tennessee Welcome Centers, Holbert exclaims, “I’m HOME!!!”
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is heavily involved in the use of social media to strengthen its tourism brand with those who enjoy the benefits of vacationing with us. You can follow Tnvacation on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Mountain View Elementary Students Perform
Tourism And Opry Officials Attend Encore Performance At Mountain View Elementary School
Kindergarteners & First Graders Give Stellar Grand Ole Opry Performance
Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker paid a visit to Mountain View Elementary School in Johnson City, Tenn. for the first grade class’s encore performance of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry. Commissioner Whitaker and other executive staff, along with Barbara Schaetz, Grand Ole Opry vice-president, were in attendance to offer congratulations and make special presentations to the school, teachers Angie Baker and Karen Seaver and the more than 25 performing students. A highlight of the morning’s program was the viewing of a special congratulatory video message from Gov. Phil Bredesen.“
These children are absolutely brilliant and the perfect Tennessee tourism ambassadors,” said Whitaker. “If imitation is truly the highest form of flattery, then the late Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Mother Maybelle Carter and Minnie Pearl should be grinning from ear to ear. What an inspiring way to showcase Tennessee’s music and heart with these adorable children from Mountain View Elementary School.”
Mountain View Staff and Students Celebrate
with Special Guests
Under the direction and inspiration of teachers Angie Baker and Karen Seaver, the Kindergarteners and first graders gave an energetic and delightful performance of some of the Grand Ole Opry’s highest moments, including performances by Johnny Cash, Mother Maybelle Carter, Glenn Campbell and Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. Mountain View Elementary School is a Title One school, founded with an emphasis in visual and performing arts. Click here to view video from the performance.
“How flattering to our show that these teachers and children would take the time to learn about these legendary Opry artists, their songs and the history of country music,” said Barbara Schaetz, vice president of marketing, Gaylord Entertainment. “They were truly inspiring.”
This event provided opportunity to highlight the tourism department’s Education Initiative which was established to emphasize the importance of tourism in Tennessee’s education institutions. “This activity at Mountain View was more than a performance and in many ways sums up the Education Initiative,” said Whitaker. “The children learned about Tennessee’s music, history, culture and even geography. If the circle continues, one of these talented children might just step up to the microphone on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and have the career of a lifetime.”
The Grand Ole Opry, and the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, provided Baker and Seaver with a weekend trip to Nashville, including tickets to the Grand Ole Opry. The children were given special Opry gift bags featuring the book, “Pardon Me, Is That The Grand Ole Opry?” and the Opry’s official candy bar, the GOO GOO Cluster.
TDOT Announces I-40 Will Re-open June 12, 2009
Interstate 40 In Knoxville
Tourists will travel with ease through Knoxville
One of the most anticipated dates in recent Knoxville history is now official; I-40 in Downtown Knoxville will re-open to traffic on June 12, 2009. Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely credited a “great team working on a model project,” announcing the I-40 re-opening date for the SmartFIX40 project.
To mark the occasion, TDOT along with the city of Knoxville is planning a number of events leading up to the official grand opening at 2:00 p.m. on June 12 when the interstate will be opened by federal, state and local officials.
“The magnitude of this project and its completion is a major milestone for TDOT, the city of Knoxville and the thousands of individuals involved who have made SmartFIX40 one of the most successful projects in history,” said Nicely.
Since May 1, 2008, I-40 has been widened to six through lanes and four auxiliary lanes, including the construction of nine bridges, seven new ramps, 14 retaining walls and three noise walls along with improvements to 12 city streets.
"We are pleased that the Knoxville section of I-40 is re-opening, making it very safe and convenient for tourists traveling in that part of the state," said Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Commissioner of Tourist Development. "Congratulations to Commissioner Nicely and the entire SmartFIX40 team for executing this much needed project in such a timely manner. As we embark upon our busiest vacation season, travelers will find their road trips fun-filled and detour free."
To commemorate this milestone, there will be opportunities for everyone to join in the grand opening event. The evening before the grand opening the Knoxville Track Club along with TDOT and the city of Knoxville will host the “Fast 40 Dash” foot race and family fun walk on June 11 at 7:00 PM. On June 12, the day of the grand opening, anyone can participate in the rolling road opening procession, and be among the first to drive on the newly constructed I-40. Visit the SmartFIX40 Web site for updated information on the opening at www.SmartFIX40.com.
CTTP College Serves as Prelude to 2009 Governor’s Conference on Tourism
For the first time ever, the Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional (CTTP) College will be offered in conjunction with the Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which will be held September 16-18 in Murfreesboro.
“This is something that we have been discussing for a number of years,” said John Whisenant, Executive Director of the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable (TTR). “We believe we will be able to increase participation in the program, have access to a much broader faculty base, and reduce both travel and CTTP program fee expenses for participants.”
The CTTP College will begin at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, September 15, and participants will have twelve hours of classroom instruction prior to the beginning of the Conference on Wednesday, September 16. They will continue with their studies through required attendance at specific workshops and seminars offered during the Governor’s Conference. CTTP testing will take place on Thursday, September 17, and certifications will be awarded during the Governor’s Luncheon on Friday, September 18.
“In addition to the expanded educational programming this new plan will provide, one of the major benefits is that we will be able to offer the program at a much-reduced rate,” Whisenant said. “For the last several years, CTTP College tuition alone was $375.00 per student. Through the cost-savings we will realize by conducting the program in conjunction with the Governor’s Conference, we have been able to lower the CTTP College tuition to $175.00. Combined with a discounted Governor’s Conference registration fee, participants will be able to a have a combined Governor’s Conference registration and CTTP College tuition package rate of $400.00. That’s a total savings of $269.00 over last year’s tuition and conference registration fees,” said Whisenant.
CTTP participants must meet all program requirements and successfully complete the CTTP College and testing to receive their certification. Information on CTTP program requirements can be found on the TTR Web site www.tenntourismroundtable.com.
2009 Governor’s Conference on Tourism information, including programming, schedule, lodging and registration will also be available on the TTR Web site effective June 8.
The CTTP program is an educational and professional development partnership program of the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable and the University Of Tennessee Tourism Institute.
Miles Media, publisher of The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide, is proud to be the underwriting partner of the CTTP program.
Tennessee Tourism’s Sustainable Workshop Coming To Upper Cumberland Region
The Upper Cumberland Sustainable Tourism Workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., June 16, at the DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, Tenn. Cheryl Hargrove, recognized as the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation’s first heritage director, is the keynote speaker and will discuss “The Power of Place: An Opportunity for Tourism Growth and Sustainability.” Hargrove is currently the president of The HTC Group, a cultural heritage tourism management and marketing consultancy.
Sustainable tourism is defined as the commitment to sustaining our environment, history and culture, while simultaneously sustaining economic growth through tourism
All community leaders are encouraged to attend the free Sustainable Tourism Workshops. For more information, contact Patricia Gray at (615) 741-9004 or email@example.com, or Lee Curtis at (615) 741-9045 or Lee.Curtis@tn.gov. For a complete schedule, visit www.tnsustainabletourism.com.
Geo-Green Tourism Webinars Announced
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are sponsoring a six-part Geo-Green webinar series, the first of which will be held on July 2. The webinars will be moderated by René Welti, Publisher of ECHO Encounters and Geo-Green Tourism Marketing Specialists.
The geo-green webinars will provide practical information on how to connect with “green” meeting planners, outdoor and group travelers, and how to be positioned well in the sustainable tourism market. Each webinar will be one hour in length. There is no cost, however space is limited to 35 registrants per webinar. To register, contact Patricia Gray at 615-741-9004; firstname.lastname@example.org or Lee Curtis at 615-741-9045, email@example.com.
The six-part Geo-Green webinar series schedule follows:
July 2: Green Travel Industry Overview
July 14: Green Meetings
Aug 11, 2009 Green Lodging
Aug. 20: EcoTourism – Who is Doing it Right and What Does it Take?
Oct 6: Green / Eco Tourism Marketing - Domestic & International
Oct. 27: Green Web sites
First Civil War Trail Marker in Upper Cumberland Region
Travisville Citizens and Tourism Officials
Celebrate the Installation
The site that saw the first military action in Tennessee during the Civil War was again the location for a special Civil War event. Nearly 150 years after the first military action in Tennessee, Travisville installed its first Civil War marker on May 8 as part of the Tennessee Civil War Trails program.
Located in Pickett County in East Tennessee, Travisville is the first location in the Upper Cumberland to install a marker. The site is known as the “Affair at Travisville,” where four people were killed after a Union Calvary attacked a surprised Confederate camp. The marker was sponsored by the Borderlands Foundation, a nonprofit heritage education foundation.
The Civil War Trails program is a multi-state recognition initiative with partnerships established in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. The program brings awareness to the state’s role in the Civil War and serves as a prelude to the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War which will begin in 2011.
To date, there are 40 markers installed throughout the state with approximately 20 more to be installed during the month of June, and many more coming on board in the coming months. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development was awarded a two-part federal enhancement grant of more than a million dollars from the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The grant provides for an 80/20 match for local participation.For information contact Lee Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Noell Rembert at email@example.com, or call 615.741-2159.
Education Web site a Hit!
Tourism’s Derrick Smith talks with students at
an Education Career Conference
The careers in Education Web site on Tnvacation.com has been a “must see” site for high school juniors and seniors across the state this Spring. More than 2000 counselors across the state have been encouraging students to view the Web site for career choices and scholarship information.
Mario Freeman, a graduating senior from Hunters Lane High School in Nashville had this to say about the site. “It is great. It has all the information I need in one place-a listing of colleges and scholarship information as well as career choices in tourism for me to consider.”
The Education Initiative was developed to bring about awareness to the tourism industry for students as well as school administrators and faculty. The program offers a speaker’s bureau, internship opportunities and in-depth career information in the tourism field as well as details from partners and agencies that provide career support such as the TCIDs program from the Tennessee Board of Regents and the National Career Assessment Services, Inc. The Tourism Department works in partnership with the Department of Education on this initiative.
2010 Vacation Guide Sales Begin
Planning is underway for the 2010 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide, which will include a dynamic mix of engaging new content, design, features, travel information, events and listings promoting the state’s diverse travel opportunities.
Don’t miss this great chance to promote your own business in the state’s official travel fulfillment piece, published by Miles Media in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
2010 Tennessee Vacation Guide sales have begun. To find out more, contact Abbie Gristy (Middle/West Tennessee Regions) at 731-298-1003 or Abbie.Gristy@milesmedia.com, or Mary Steadman (Upper Cumberland/East Tennessee Regions) at 423-956-4330 or Mary.Steadman@milesmedia.com.
Click here for a PDF of the complete 2010 Vacation Guide Media Kit.
Facts & Trends
Pigeon Forge tourism partners attend
Tourism Talks workshop
A model program developed in Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge is a resort community of more than 5,500 citizens that averages more than 11 million visitors a year. In 2008, when visitation numbers were in jeopardy, Lila Wilson of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism went beyond hospitality training to offer affordable marketing and pr solutions for tourism partners.
“Tourism Talks,” a series of free bi-monthly meetings targeting the local tourism community, was created.
In addition to the “Tourism Talks” meetings, Wilson sought out media outlets willing to offer free and nearly free promotions. Tourism partners were asked to donate tickets, food and lodging to create multiple promotional packages. Soon the success spread to include outlets across TN and other southeastern states. “Tourism Talks” continues. The June event was a discussion on “Crisis Communications” hosted by Dollywood. Next “Tourism Talks” is set for August 4.
Americans Warming up to Travel
While more Americans are planning a vacation this year, the economy will manifest a slight impact on their summer travels. According to a new study released by Deloitte, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they were taking a summer vacation and half of those indicated economic or financial concerns will change some aspect of their trip including: lodging at less expensive hotels (50%), spending less on eating (50%), reducing entertainment costs (46%), taking fewer trips (46%) and spending fewer nights away from home (45%).
Adam Weissenberg, Deloitte, US Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure leader believes that, this year, more and more travelers will take advantage of incentives and good deals on room rates.
Sustainability also remains important. Thirty-two percent indicated they look for environmentally friendly hotels. Twenty-nine percent would like to have more hotel information about green efforts while 37% indicated they are more aware of the environment than a year ago.
Tourism Rally Day Nationwide and at Home
The industry’s first ever U.S. Travel Rally Day was held on May 12, 2009 during National Travel and Tourism Week. Rallies in more than 40 cities spotlighted the impact that travel has on each city's economy, businesses and community.
In Lawrenceburg Tennessee, citizens read a tourism proclamation from County Mayor Paul Rosson printed in the Lawrence County Advocate. On May 14th, the Lawrence County Tourism Organization appeared on WDXE Radio to read the proclamation and showcased the community’s attractions and upcoming events.
Lawrence County continues to receive national notoriety as the home of WWII hero, Robert Hamsley. Hamsley is credited with liberating the French village of Plelo from Nazis in 1944. The Associated Press released a story about Hamsley over Memorial Day which received national and international coverage.
RC Cola & Moon Pie Festival
Tennesseans Show their Faces of Travel
Daffodilly, Tree-dy, Moon Pie & Royal Crown and the mayor of Bell Buckle competed in the Faces of Travel contest sponsored by U.S. Travel Association. The promotion was designed to illustrate the economic impact that travel has in America.
U.S. Travel received hundreds of video submissions which may be viewed on U.S. Travel’s YouTube channel. A winner was selected by the public via online voting.
Great Smoky Mountains
Visitation Up in the Smokies
The National Park Service reports that visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was up 22.6% over April 2008. All entry points recorded an increase. This brings the year-to-date numbers up by 5.7%.
Keep Tennessee Beautiful
Nashville was one of three cities chosen as Spotlight City for Great American Cleanup. The event on May 14 began at Bicentennial Mall and moved to surrounding areas with clean-ups, paint-outs, and landscaping projects. More than 1,000 volunteers were organized for the eight hour work day at multiple sites.
The “Green Starts Here” educational showcase along the north side of the mall featured a booth on Sustainable Tourism, sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Pictured (L to R): Mark Oldham, Uniguest;
Shannon Bowles, Marriott Airport; Shawn
Thomas, Uniguest; Phyllis Qualls-Brooks,
Tennessee Dept. of Tourism, and
Kirk Godkin, HP.
Nashville's Marriott Install's Breakthrough Technology
Nashville-based solutions provider, Uniguest, has unveiled the revolutionary all-in-one HP dx9000 TouchSmart PCs for its Business Center Kiosks, Boarding Pass Kiosks, and the newly developed Concierge Station Kiosk at the Nashville Marriott Airport.
Marriott Airport Nashville is an industry leader in hospitality and first in the world to offer Business Center, Concierge Kiosk, and Boarding Pass Kiosk touch-screen technology to guests.
Nashville-based Connected Tennessee's Computers 4 Kids program has donated 133 new Dell computers to families in Tipton and Lauderdale counties. Connected Tennessee is a public-private group that partners with technology-based businesses, universities and the state government to accelerate technology use in Tennessee, specifically the adoption and availability of broadband (high-speed) Internet. Today more than one-half of all Tennessee residents (approximately 2.5 million Tennessee adults) have broadband service at home. This is an increase of nearly 26% since Connected Tennessee’s inception in July 2007, which compares to an estimated national increase in broadband adoption of 15%.
National Trust offers Diversity Scholarships
The Diversity Scholarship Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is accepting applications for the 2009 Diversity Scholars. Selected candidates will receive a scholarship to attend the National Preservation Conference taking place October 13-17, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The deadline to submit applications is Monday, June 15, 2009.
The goal of the Diversity Scholarship Program is to increase the diversity of participants at the annual National Preservation Conference and in the preservation movement. The scholarship covers registration and hotel accommodations. Ideal candidates are community leaders from diverse social, economic, racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. To apply online, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/training/npc/npc-scholarships.html, or contact Jacqueline S. Johnson, Diversity Scholars program coordinator, at 202.588.6407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Diversity Scholarship Program is funded by a generous grant from the National Park Service.For more information, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/about-us/programs/office-of-diversity.html.
Kim Sexton Named May's Welcome Center Employee of the Month
"Kim was tremendously helpful! Many states I've traveled through do not have a facility like this! Thank you very much!" What a testimony coming from one of the travelers that visited the Tiftonia Welcome Center and was greeted by Kim Sexton. Service such as this has earned Kim, a welcome center assistant at the Tiftonia Welcome Center, the Tennessee Welcome Center’s Employee of the Month for May Award.
Kim, who has been with the Department of Tourist Development for eight years, says the award was totally unexpected. "I'm happy to be named and glad that I've helped people that come to our state."
Eddie Johnson, Tiftonia's manager, sees Kim as a big asset to the Welcome Center and the state of Tennessee. "Kim goes beyond the call of duty. Currently, she is at the Nickajack Center helping out for the month of June while another employee is on sick leave."
Many other visitors shared wonderful comments about Kim. Here are just a few:
"Kim was wonderful. We could not have asked for anyone more friendly, helpful and gracious!"
"The hostess Kim was very nice to us. It was as if we never left home. Thank you for having her."
"Kim was incredible! She was very helpful and took good care of us. She was a bright ray of sunshine!"
New Manager at Nickajack
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is pleased to announce that Larry Minniear has been named manager of the Welcome Center at Nickajack. Larry replaces Queen Esther Bowles, who retired in May.
Larry has many years of management experience with the US Postal Service. He comes to us from the Tennessee Department of Safety and began his new job on Monday, June 1, 2009. We welcome Larry to the Department of Tourist Development!
Industry Applause is designed to highlight and recognize the achievements of our industry partners.
Entertainer Dolly Parton becomes Dr. Parton
Dolly Parton Honorary Doctorate
Entertainment legend and philanthropist Dolly Parton now has another title she can add to her list – Dr. Dolly Parton. Governor Phil Bredesen presented Dolly Parton with an honorary doctorate from the University of Tennessee during spring commencement ceremonies. Parton was the first in her family to graduate from high school. She never attended college, but her new degree honors her dedication to education, children and life-long learning.
Crappie Magazine Features Garry Mason On Cover Of Premiere Issue
A new crappie fishing magazine has hit the market with their first issue. The new Crappie Angler magazine features the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame founder and Executive Director Garry Mason on the premiere issue. Garry Mason has been a crappie angler and guide for years along with being a promoter of the sport. Mason is a guide on two of the nation's premier crappie lakes, Kentucky Lake and Reelfoot Lake. Crappie Angler magazine is a division of Grizzly Jig Company, a lure company based in Caruthersville, Missouri.
Elkmont Cabins in Smokies to be Preserved
The National Park Service will preserve cabins and a clubhouse in the historic Elkmont resort district in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park service released its final environmental impact study of the plan to preserve 18 of the 74 rustic wood-frame cabins and Appalachian Clubhouse. The rest of the vacant structures will be removed. Most predate the 1930s creation of the country’s most visited national park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Under the plan, the park service will use the preserved cabins for interpretive exhibits about Elkmont’s days as a logging camp and later as a summer resort community. The clubhouse will be available for day-use rental.
Fisk University Jubilee Hall
$2.5 Million Awarded to Historically Black Colleges
The National Park Service is awarding $2.5 million in federal stimulus money to help preserve the buildings and infrastructure of historically black colleges and universities across TN. Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, Knoxville College, Lane College and Lemoyne-Owen College will be eligible for the grants. "These Recovery Act grants provide an opportunity to preserve our state's diverse cultural heritage by restoring and protecting valuable historic resources for future generations," said Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Cultural Groups Receive Help From Tourism
Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation will contribute $185,000 to 14 arts and cultural organizations whose funding was cut or eliminated in the 2010 proposed fiscal budget.
Netta's Pinnacle Award Winners with Commissioner Whitaker
Pinnacle Award Winners Announced
The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association announced winners of the 12th annual Pinnacle Awards. The Pinnacle Awards program pays tribute to individuals, businesses and organizations for exemplary quality and performance in tourism development and promotion. Commissioner Susan Whitaker attended the awards luncheon and presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Tim Lingerfelt of Erwin. For more information about the Pinnacle Awards visit NETTA.com.
Knoxville Named to AOL.com Travel’s List
Knoxville has been named to AOL.com Travel’s top 10 list of the nation’s most affordable “One-Night Getaway” vacation destinations in the United States for $150 or less. AOL.Com Travel noted Knoxville was “full of free or nearly free activities” as well as mentioning affordable attractions.
Knoxville Tourism Alliance Hosts Greater Knoxville Tourism Awards & Scholarship Luncheon
KTA Pauly Award Winners
Knoxville Tourism Alliance , the University of Tennessee Tourism Institute and the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation, sponsored the PAULY award luncheon, named after local tourism leader Paul Sherbakoff.
John Craig, president of the board of directors of the Market Square District Association, won the KTSC-sponsored Tourism Impact Award (TIA) for his involvement with the Market Square District and downtown Knoxville’s tourism efforts. For a complete list of this year’s PAULY award recipients, go to http://www.knoxville.org/media/press-releases/136/
Priscilla Presley at Graceland Staples
Priscilla Presley Officially Opens Stables
Priscilla Presley presided over the opening of Elvis Presley’s stables at Graceland for public tours. For the first time ever fans will be able to tour the stables and view artifacts such as saddles used by Elvis, personal western wear and movie footage of Elvis on horseback at Graceland. The stables were built in 1939 and currently houses four horses.
Quote of the Month
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You