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.”