Tennessee Department of Tourist Development presents June 2006 Rythm & News for industry partners of Tennessee
Articles Industry Trends Calendar Noteworthy Tips
A Message from
Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Tourism Friends,

The entire state just completed a wonderful celebration in recognition of See America Week, May 13-21. The special event is nationally sponsored by the Travel Industry of America (TIA) in an effort to promote greater awareness of the impact of tourism through local events and celebrations. Tennessee’s 13 welcome centers, as well as cities and small towns across the state, participated in the national celebration.

Governor Phil Bredesen proclaimed May 13-21 as See America Week. Throughout the event, the Welcome Centers offered various activities and giveaways that promoted local attractions and destinations. Activities ranged from free refreshments, entertainment and admission to area events to recognition of special industry members. The welcome center staff and industry volunteers showed sincere appreciation to the many visitors that make Tennessee their vacation destination.

Additionally, our department held its inaugural See America Celebration Fair at the central office location in downtown Nashville. The event, open to the public, highlighted the variety of diverse travel destinations within our state and encouraged Tennesseans to include Tennessee in their vacation plans. Many thanks to Assistant Commissioner Phyllis Qualls-Brooks for leading the tourism department in this successful event.

Several state agencies that regularly partner with the Department of Tourist Development also participated, including the departments of Agriculture, Economic & Community Development, Education, Safety, and Transportation, as well as the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

As one of Tennessee’s largest industries, tourism employs more than 175,000 individuals and generates $11.4 billion in direct revenues, making it one of the state’s key economic drivers. The dollars spent by visitors each year strengthens our state’s economy in two important ways: the direct expenditures of a visitor into our local economies and the sales tax revenues that provide essential governmental services such as education, health care and safety.

Congratulations to all those in the industry and the Department of Tourist Development who made this special week such a wonderful reminder of tourism’s value to Tennessee. Truly, the stage is set for another spectacular year of economic return for our great state.

Now let’s give a warm, summertime welcome to all our guests who have chosen Tennessee for their 2006 vacation memories and don’t forget to spend a little of your own time checking out why more than 43 million people travel here each year. Tennessee: the stage is set for you!


Susan Whitaker

Featured Articles:

See America Week - A Tennessee Tourism Success

Dyersburg Welcome Center

It was more like “See Tennessee Week” as our state celebrated TIA’s national “See America Week” May 13-21. From a tourist kidnapping in Kingsport, to a giant catfish in Chattanooga and homemade Amish bread and jam in Ardmore, Tennessee Tourism was out in force to celebrate tourism.

All 13 welcome centers across the state stepped-up to the challenge to offer special appreciation to our many visitors fortunate enough to land in Tennessee for tourism week. Representatives from Dollywood, MountainTop Resorts, and Dixie Stampede fired up the grills and served hotdogs to visitors at the Smith County and Hartford Welcome Centers.

Park Ranger Mark Morgan from Norris Dam State Park gave the Hartford visitors a true nature experience with his baby possums and pine snake for viewing and petting. Chattanooga’s CVB staff washed the windshields of all the cars that pulled into Tiftonia on Wednesday, May 17th.

Ardmore Welcome Center passed out locally bottled water from Wayne County as well as homemade Amish bread and strawberry jam from Ethridge in Lawrence County. In Jellico, Don Nickels of the Smoky Mountain Resort cooked more than 642 hotdogs within a two hour period.

Tiftonia Welcome Center

The tourist kidnapping scheme, all in fun of course, involved representatives from Kingsport “kidnapping” some tourist from our Bristol Welcome Center and treating them to a couple of free days in Kingsport, including hotel, meals and the city's great tourism attractions.

The Memphis CVB sponsored a drawing at the I-40 Memphis Welcome Center for the grand prize of two nights lodging in the Memphis Hampton Inn, two VIP admissions to Graceland and a $100 gas card.

Governor Phil Bredesen declared May 13-21 official “See America Week”. Sullivan County Mayor Richard S. Venable proclaimed May 13-21 as “Welcome Center Staff Appreciation Week” for a job well-done at our Bristol Welcome Center. Tennessee Tourism employees in Nashville hosted the first “See America Week Celebration Fair” in the Tennessee Tower Office Building in downtown Nashville. (See the Commissioner’s Message for more details.)

Kaye Ireland, executive director of the Sumner County CVB in speaking about her county’s experience, spoke for all of Tennessee tourism when she said, “This week allows us to thank our visitors for their patronage, honor the businesses and employees who serve them and show our pride in our industry.”

Inspiration is Goal of Governor’s Conference on Tourism

It is time to mark your calendar for the 2006 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. This year the conference is set at Knoxville’s Convention Center and promises to be a time for motivation and inspiration. Dates are Wednesday, September 20th, Thursday, September 21st and Friday, September 22nd. Kicking off the Conference on Wednesday is the Durrell Roberts Golf Classic. The conference concludes on Friday with the Governor’s Luncheon featuring The Honorable Phil Bredesen.

The 2006 Governor’s conference will feature Keynote speaker Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, as well as the Marketplace of Exhibitors, seven educational seminars and a State of the Industry address by Commissioner Susan Whitaker.

Make plans now to be a part of Tennessee Tourism’s main event.

Governor’s Conference Highlights:
Wednesday, September 20th - Opening Reception.

Thursday, September 21st - Keynote address by Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads
Visit the Marketplace of Exhibitors.
Choose from seven educational seminars

Friday, September 22nd - State of the Industry by Commissioner Susan Whitaker
Governor’s Luncheon featuring The Honorable Phil Bredesen’s address

As an added bonus in 2006, the Tennessee Hotel & Lodging Association and the Tennessee Restaurant Association will offer special events for their members on Thursday.

All meetings, seminars and meal events will be hosted at the Knoxville Convention Center, 701 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, our hotel rooms are at the Holiday Inn Select Downtown at the Convention Center $91.00 plus tax S/D/T/Q, and the Hilton Knoxville 501 W. Church Ave. $99.00 plus tax S//D.

The Holiday Inn Select, 525 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN is located next door to the Convention Center. For reservations call 1-888-465-4329 or 1-865-522-2800.

The Hilton Knoxville is one block from the Knoxville Convention center. For reservations call Tool-free 1-800- Hiltons (445-8667) or 1-865-523-2300.

When contacting either hotel be sure to ask for the “Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Tourism” to insure you receive the correct room rate. Cut off date for both properties is August 23, 2006.

Roger Spivey Joins TTR As Executive Director

Roger Spivey has accepted the position Executive Director of the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable effective May 1, 2006. Roger comes to TTR with more than 15 years experience in Hotel, Convention Center and Exposition management, 5 years service in Tennessee State Courts, U.S. congressional District 5 and the Nashville Mayoral Office. He also served as Executive Vice President of the Tennessee Nursery & Landscaping Association and the Tennessee Flower Growers Association for 6 years.

We are extremely pleased to find someone of Roger’s experience level in association management and the hospitality industry to lead TTR into the future. For the past 2 years, Roger has been responsible for planning and developing the Tennessee Bar Association’s on-site/web-site Continuing Legal Education programs. He led a team of 15 staff members in producing the annual convention for TBA as well as the TBA Board or Directors’ meetings and other major events.

Roger is a Vietnam Veteran, attended Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee. He has served on the Tennessee Society of Association Executives Board of Directors for the past 8 years, currently holding the office of President Elect and will assume the presidency in 2007. He has been married for 34 years, and has two children both attending college.

“The TTR Executive Committee interviewed many excellent candidates,” states Dave Perella, TTR Chairman of the Board. “We are extremely pleased to find someone of Roger’s experience level in association management and the hospitality industry to lead TTR into the future.”

Industry Applause

Nashville at Night

Nashville recently captured the #1 spot on Kiplinger’s “Smartest Places to Live” list. Kiplinger’s cited the mild climate, affordable housing, southern hospitality, vast array of culture, entertainment and sports opportunities, and over-all quality of life as primary factors for choosing Tennessee’s capitol city.

Congratulations to Rarity Bay on Tellico Lake, recently selected by Travel + Leisure Golf magazine as one of "America’s Top 100 Golf Communities." Travel + Leisure Golf calls this listing "the definitive list of the best places to live-and live well."

Summertime Fun in Knoxville

Knoxville was chosen as one of the seven most affordable vacation destinations in the U.S. and abroad by CNNMoney.com. The state’s eastern-most major city was noted as a city “full of cultural and family attractions, from the Knoxville Symphony and the Knoxville Zoo to the Knoxville Opera.” In addition, the article cited Knoxville as a city with an abundance of affordable hotels and motels.

The Peabody Memphis’ General Manager Douglas V. Browne has been named Peabody Hotel Group “General Manager of the Year” in the 2005 PHG Annual Awards. “Douglas Browne ran an efficient operation, meeting and exceeding occupancy and financial goals, states Martin S. Belz, President and Chairman of the Peabody Hotel Group. “He also turned in a truly impressive performance throughout the massive renovation and restoration of The Peabody Memphis.”

Congratulations to Dolly Parton, this year’s recipient of the Lindy Boggs Award recognizing her service to the community through The Imagination Library. Dolly’s book program provides a book a month to children from birth to the time they start school. It's in 600 communities in 41 states, giving books to more than a quarter of a million children. Starting in June, it will be in all 95 counties in the state of Tennessee. Former Lindy Boggs Award recipients include Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Janet Reno and First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Dolly Parton is a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

TNVacation.com was recently the #1 state tourism web site for the search term "vacation" on Google. Out of the thousands of travel related inquires made daily on the Google search engine, the popularity of TNVacation.com consistently results in first page placement for the vacation keyword.

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