Send Your T3 Special Summer Discounts for Summer Fun in Tennessee
The busiest season in Tennessee is upon us as we’re all gearing up for the best summer season yet. Tourists have begun making their pilgrimages to the three grand regions of the state for big summer fun.
Families are always looking for affordable vacation options. The Tennessee Travel Tuesdays (T3) program is in high demand now more than ever in supplying the latest travel specials and deals. Since February, a total of 428,969 emails have been sent out to deal seekers, with an open rate of 19 percent, 7 percent higher than the industry average.
Take advantage of this FREE opportunity to get your special discounts out to thousands of summer travelers. To submit your hot summer deals, visit tnvacation.com/t3 and click on the ‘Partners, Submit Deals!’ icon. After submission, these cost-saving incentives will be promoted through the department’s social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and via emails and weekly SMS text messages.
Speaking of summer fun, Nashville Shores has opened a new attraction, Kowabunga Beach. The attraction, which is four stories tall, contains thousands of gallons of water in more than 70 interactive features including four water slides, a giant bucket that tips hundreds of gallons of water every few minutes, water jets, bridges, tunnels and more.
At Dollywood, the new Barnstormer ride offers the whole family a thrill. Seated back to back, riders travel progressively higher on each swing of the Barnstormer’s two massive pendulum arms, reaching a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour and 230 degrees of rotation.
This summer in Memphis, check out some cool exhibits at Graceland. Elvis Lives: The King and Pop Culture Exhibit features an interactive exploration through videos, photos and displays of Elvis’ influence on pop culture as we know it today. The ’68 Special Exhibit at Graceland Crossing offers a look at the historic television event and includes some of the outfits Elvis wore during the special, a script and a timeline of significant historical events occurring in the U.S. at that time.
Tiftonia Welcome Center
Tiftonia Welcome Center Grand Opening June 24
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Susan Whitaker will be joined by Commissioner John Schroer of the Department of Transportation for the ribbon cutting ceremony of the I-24 Hamilton County (Tiftonia) Welcome Center at 11 a.m. EDT on June 24.
"We are very excited to open the new I-24 Hamilton County Welcome Center at Tiftonia,” said Barry Young, director of Welcome Centers. “I believe our visitors entering Tennessee via I-24 East will be very pleased with what they experience at the new center. Guests can browse for brochures in the log cabin, the restrooms are much larger and there is a family restroom available. And, as always, our friendly staff is there ready to assist visitors with information about Tennessee."
The event will feature exhibits from tourism partners from around the state. Partners from Blount, Bradley, Hamilton, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Rhea, Sequatchie and Sevier counties have been invited to participate.
Designed as a log cabin and featuring 4,989 square feet, the facility combines the warmth of Tennessee with the modern advantage of new construction, including sustainable features such as geothermal heating and cooling and a solar array.
There are 14 Welcome Centers located primarily on interstate highway entrances to Tennessee. Tennessee’s Welcome Centers are constructed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and are operated by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Kix Brooks To Participate in 2011 Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event
Kix Brooks, country music celebrity and co-owner of Arrington Vineyards, is slated to make a special appearance at the state’s 2011 Sesquicentennial Signature Event. To be held Sept. 6-7 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, the event is officially sanctioned and organized by Tennessee’s Sesquicentennial Commission. It is the second of six signature events to take place annually throughout the 150th commemoration years of the American Civil War from 2011-2015.
The theme for the event is “Civil War in the Borderland.”
The event will consist of historical discussions, musical performances, stories and living history demonstrations. TTU joins the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Tennessee Historical Society and the Upper Cumberland Civil War Roundtable to sponsor a series of distinguished speakers and other events in Cookeville.
For the first time, Tennessee State Library and Archives will host the Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee event as part of the Sesquicentennial Signature Event from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sept. 6 at the Cookeville History Museum. The Looking Back project allows Tennesseans to digitally preserve Civil War photos and memorabilia to create a permanent, public archive online.
Tennessee is the only entire state designated by the U.S. Congress as a Civil War National Heritage area. Another important Sesquicentennial initiative is Tennessee’s Civil War Trails program, now featuring more than 200 trail markers throughout the state. For more information, please visit tncivilwar150.com.
Web Assistance Summer Tour Expanded
July dates have been added for Chattanooga and Monteagle to the Web Assistance Summer Tour.
All summer tour stops are FREE to Tennessee tourism partners.
Final Summer Tour Schedule
June 23, Knoxville, East Tennessee History Center
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET
June 30, Natchez Trace State Park, Inn & Conference Center
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. CT
July 13, Crossville, Holiday Inn Express
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. CT
July 14, Cookeville, Fairfield Inn & Suites
9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CT
July 19, Monteagle, Monteagle City Hall
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. CT
July 20, Chattanooga, Chattanooga Choo Choo
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET
To RSVP please email the date and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for additional locations in the fall and winter.
For more information about the tour visit tnvacation.com/web-assistance-summer-tour
Facts & Trends
Sky Lift, Gatlinburg
“Uncle Joe” and the Internet Share the Travel Service Decision Funnel
Family, friends and media continue to lead the way in providing vacation ideas and inspiration while the internet continues to grow in its influence for advice, pricing and purchasing. That according to the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of American TravelersTM study.
The report listed the key information sources for the five phases in the travel decision-making funnel:
Ideas and inspiration: Family, friends and media, including television, magazines, vacation guides and brochures.
Advice and insight: While family and friends still top the list of trusted sources (54%) followed closely by travel guide books (44%), the internet continues to grow its influence.
Pricing and comparing: The internet tops the list with the help of key online resources. Just over half of travelers are using such online travel agencies (OTA) as Expedia and Travelocity for gathering prices and impartial comparisons.
Purchasing: As the decision funnel narrows in purchasing the best deals, the two main options are an OTA (41 percent) or directly to a travel supplier’s own website (38 percent). Other purchase portals include traditional travel agents (23 percent), multi-brand websites (18 percent) and destination websites (17 percent).
“From what we see, Uncle Joe wins for ideas/advice while the Internet wins for price comparison/purchasing,” noted YPartnership in a recent tweet on Twitter. More detailed information about the influencers inside the funnel is available at http://blog.ypartnership.com/?p=327
Employee of the Month
Many times our Welcome Center staff assists travelers in odd situations. Cynthia Jared, manager of the I-40 Smith County Welcome Center recently found herself in one of those situations.
A visitor from Jackson, Tenn. sent us an email describing her recent experience and here is a paraphrase of her account:
"A couple of weeks ago, while on I-40 going to East Tennessee, a hen turkey began to cross the road in front of me and I had no choice except to hit her, which left remnants on the hood of my car.
"Luckily, there was a Welcome Center within a half mile and I pulled in there hoping to get something to clean the front of my car. The manager, Cynthia Jared, came to my rescue. She personally found a water hose, connected it and helped me wash my car off.
"She was a real trooper and I want all to know what a wonderful service she did that day. She certainly went over and above what anyone might have expected of a manager of a Welcome Center."
For her service beyond expectation, Cynthia Jared has been selected as our Tennessee Welcome Centers Employee of the Month for May 2011.
Industry Applause is designed to highlight and recognize the achievements of our industry partners.
Beale Street, Memphis
Cheap Air.com Names 10 Great U.S. Summer Cities
With the warmer weather and longer days, many Americans will be looking for places to explore during the months of June, July and August. Cheap Air.com names 10 U.S. cities that need to be checked out this year. At No. 3, Memphis!
Emmylou Harris Honorary Chair for Folk Festival
Emmylou Harris, Country Music Hall of Fame member, and Gov. Bill Haslam and first lady Crissy Haslam, are honorary co-chairs for the National Folk Festival scheduled for Nashville in September. Expected to draw tens of thousands of music fans, the 73rd annual traveling festival is the oldest and longest-running multicultural festival in the nation.
Bonnaroo is Sold Out
Tennessee's four-day Bonnaroo Festival, now in its 10th year, is sold out. A reported 80,000 tickets were sold, with crowds heading to Great Stage Park, a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. Not among the 80,000 attendees? No worries, you'll be able to hear the concerts on the NPR Music website, the NPR Music iPhone app and other member stations in the U.S. Bonnaroo is the top-grossing festival in North America and was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll.
Virginia, Tennessee Partner for Civil War Project
Tennessee and Virginia are teaming up in Bristol to collect Civil War documents and artifacts brought in by residents of both states. Archivists from the two Civil War battlefield states were in Bristol collecting records from residents in their respective states, part of an effort to create digital records from the Civil War years. In Bristol, they’ll scan documents and artifacts brought in by residents. The Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Museum and the Library of Virginia are behind the archiving project. Both states are amid projects to document diaries, records and personal stories from the war.
Chamber and Visitor Center Debut
The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce moved into its new $5.3 million home at the end of 2010 and celebrated the grand opening on May 3. Located on the north side of Medical Center Parkway near I-24, the 33,744 square-foot building also features a state-of-the-art Visitors Center. Tourists wanting to learn more about Rutherford County's Civil War heritage, music celebrations, sports venues and much more will want to start out at the new center.
Music City Trolley Hop Connects Visitors To Great Local Attractions
Gray Line of Tennessee announced recently the launch of the Music City Trolley Hop, an on-and-off tour. Led by tour guides, this new tour travels to 11 locations around town and gives riders the option of either staying on board the trolley for the entire narrated tour, or they can hop off or hop on at various points along the route.
Chattanooga CVB Opens New Visitor Center
The Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau officially opened the new Chattanooga Visitors Center. The new location sits in the heart of the tourism district, making it even easier to get in front of the visitor and provide information on all things Chattanooga. The Visitors Center is a one-stop information, hospitality and ticketing center for the tens of thousands of visitors that visit Chattanooga.
A Wide Spot in the Road Becomes a Star on the Map
The Downtown Leiper’s Fork Association unveiled its new brand at an event held at Country Boy Restaurant. The branding is a result of more than a year of research and collaboration between The Tombras Group and a select committee spearheaded by DLFA Director, April Cantrell. The new look of Leiper’s Fork conveys a destination where visitors can shake off their worries and not be in a hurry and, as some say, “step into Leiper’s Fork Standard Time.”
Frist Participates in Blue Star Program
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will join more than 1,300 museums across the nation to participate in the Blue Star Museums program, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts to offer free admission to active duty military personnel and up to five immediate family members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Sept. 5, 2011. Admission to the Frist Center is always free for visitors 18 years of age and younger.
Judy Peiser Honored
On May 18, members of the 107th Tennessee General Assembly stood up and applauded Judy Peiser as she entered the House Chamber. She was asked to come forward “to the well” as Resolution 243 was read which championed her commitment to preserving the social history and music of the South while striving to educate and inform the general public of its importance. Joining in this tribute were members of the Shelby County Delegation Representatives Jim Coley, Barbara Cooper, Karen Camper, John DeBerry, Lois DeBerry, Mike Kernell, Ron Lollar, Steve McManus, Larry J. Miller, Jeanne Richardson, Joe Towns, Jr., Johnny Turner, Mark White and Johnny Shaw of Hardeman County. Attending the ceremony for Tennessee Arts Commission was Director of Folklife Programs Robert Cogswell, Center for Southern Folklore board member and director of marketing for the Tennessee State Museum, Mary Unobsky and Tennessee State Museum Executive Director Lois Riggins-Ezzell. Summing up the special ceremony, Riggins-Ezzell noted, “This is an honor greatly deserved that speaks of Judy’s commitment to the belief that culture is our greatest human experience and must be documented. She has committed her life to this documentation through film, music, arts, crafts and oral histories. The world is richer for this and her work a treasure chest for future generations to savor.”
Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You