Tennessee Department of Tourist Development presents February 2010 Rythm & News for industry partners of Tennessee
Articles Industry Trends Calendar Noteworthy Tips
A Message from
Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Colleagues,

I knew that TACVB’s Blizzard IV Conference was excellent and would have great impact on Tennessee’s tourism, but who knew it could actually bring SNOW to so much of this beautiful state?! Tennessee is really beautiful blanketed in white, but I must admit that the past week has definitely made me even more appreciative of our normal, moderate winter climate!

Seriously, I do want to congratulate the Board and Executive Director of the TACVB for an outstanding Blizzard IV.  From all accounts, the sessions and activities were informative, helpful and a little fun, too. I am so sorry I was unable to attend at the last minute. I thank my staff for their strong leadership and willingness to fill in for me.

Let me also congratulate and thank Dr. Steve Morse of the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Tourism. During his outstanding presentation at Blizzard IV, Dr. Morse provided our industry with detailed financial data to show the economic impact that tourism has on each county and region in the state.  Dr. Morse even went a step further and created individual power point presentations for each tourism partner’s use at city and county budget meetings.

During his outstanding presentation at Blizzard IV, Dr. Morse provided our industry with detailed financial data to show the economic impact that tourism has on each county and region in the state.
Let me encourage each of you – CVB, Chamber, destination or association – to take full advantage of Dr. Morse’s work. It is important that city and county leaders continue to be informed about the vital economic impact tourism has on each city, county and region of Tennessee.

As budgets are being determined and difficult decisions are being made about where to invest public and private dollars, it is imperative that our various stakeholders know the value of tourism and its excellent return on investment. Tourism dollars provide funding for education, health care, infrastructure and other essential services that do not pay for themselves.  As one of Tennessee’s most powerful economic engines, tourism continues to contribute to a better quality of life for all of Tennessee’s citizens.

If you were unable to attend Blizzard IV and would like information about this project, contact Dr. Morse at smorse@utk.edu.  Promoting tourism is essential.  Its return on the dollar is undeniable proof.

I also want to congratulate Commissioner Ken Givens and the Department of Agriculture for an outstanding Agritourism Conference held in Nashville last week. In 2003, Agritourism was new terminology, now it is a significant source of revenue for both the tourism and agricultural industries. It has provided economic development as well as enrichment to farms, wineries, dairies and other agricultural outlets. Tennessee is now a recognized national leader in Agritourism, second only to Texas in the number of agritourism sites.

The Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program is quickly moving along as we continue to lay track in front of this speeding locomotive! I want to thank all of the many  tourism professionals who have stepped up to the plate to provide leadership and input for these trails. Commissioner Gerald Nicely of TDOT, Program Coordinator of Adopt-a Highway and  Scenic Byways, Pam Monjar, as well as many other members of the TDOT staff, have done yeoman’s work in making this project a success, and we thank them wholeheartedly. The Old Tennessee Trail, the first of this initiative, has already seen an increase in visitors along their beautiful byway.

It is indeed a privilege to share Tennessee’s rich tourism attractions with people throughout the world. Let me again thank you for all you do to make tourism such an important economic asset to Tennessee. No matter what season we’re in, or how much snow is on the ground, it’s always a good time to Visit Tennessee!


Warmest regards,

Susan Whitaker


Featured Articles:

Appalachian Regional Commission Awards Grants for Tourism

Sgt. York State Historic Park, Pall Mall

Grants totaling $111,940.00 have been awarded to four Tennessee organizations by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in their Gems of Appalachia Initiative: Gateways to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. This grant competition was targeted to foster partnerships between gateway communities and neighboring public land managers to develop the tourism potential of Appalachia’s most cherished landscapes while protecting their natural ecosystems.  Recipients in Tennessee included:
    Historic Rugby, Inc. in Rugby, TN:  $30,000 to develop projects that will expand opportunities for visitors to fully experience and better understand the natural resources and cultural history of the Rugby Colony National Historic District and the Big South Fork. Projects include developing an audio guided walking tour, installing new entry signs, and developing canoe and kayak put-ins. The ARC grant is matched with $7,500 from local sources, for a total of $37,500.

    Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation in Cookeville, TN:  $40,000 to develop a driving trail highlighting the Alvin C. York Historic Area in Fentress County and the Cordell Hull Birthplace in Pickett County. The project will create and install directional signage to each site and develop interpretive audio and visual tools that tell the stories of Sgt. York – a World War I hero, and Hull – the founding father of the United Nations. The ARC grant is matched with $10,000 from local sources, for a total of $50,000.

    Borderlands Foundation in Byrdstown, TN:  $11,940 to upgrade the visitor experience at the Pickett County Welcome Center and Heritage Museum located on Highway 111.  The foundation will implement a plan to encourage Dale Hollow Lake visitors to explore Pickett County and the Big South Fork area. By increasing the visibility of the Big South Fork’s attractions, visitors will stay longer, visit more often and extend the tourist season into spring and fall. The ARC grant is matched with $3,060 from local sources, for a total of $15,000.

    Scott County, Tennessee:  $30,000 to coordinate a tourism assessment.  More than half of the Big South Fork’s acreage lies within Scott County. The county will receive training to complete a natural and cultural heritage tourism assessment to help foster local economic growth in the tourism industry.  Professional assistance will be provided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Heritage Tourism Program. The ARC grant is matched with $7,500 from local sources, for a total of $37,500.


Socialize with the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways

The Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways initiative was designed to promote tourism across all 95 counties in Tennessee. As a partner in this project, we ask that you participate in the social strategy in order to help promote the initiative.

Social networking is an effective and cheap way to reach a massive audience. It is revolutionizing the way we communicate with each other and with our target audience. We have the ability to connect with  people and receive feedback. In a time when people are searching for authentic experiences and information, we can create a dialogue through social outlets that creates a connection with Tennessee.  

Most recently, Tennessee was named No. 2 out of all 50 states in the Gammet interactive ranking for social networking. This ranking is based on efforts that promote tnvacation.com and Tennessee tourism. Our goal is to reach the No. 1 position!

We would like to offer these opportunities to help you get involved. Please click on “DTTB Social Strategy” to view information and instructions on the following social platforms that support the Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.

Click here to socialize: DTTB Social Strategy.

2010 Vacation Guide

There is a lot of excitement in the tourism industry due to the arrival of the annual vacation. With the 2010 Tennessee Vacation Guide fresh off the presses, Tennessee tourists and residents can learn more about the state’s Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways initiative and award-winning state parks.

The front and back covers of this year’s Tennessee Vacation Guide paint a vivid picture of many places just waiting to be discovered throughout the state. The colorful illustration features a number of visual treasures for guide holders to find, from Beale Street in Memphis to the Nashville and Knoxville skylines, from hidden trains and Civil War cannons to winding trails.

Cindy Dupree (Tenn. Tourism) and Mona Herring
(Murfreesboro CVB) take a look at the 2010 Vacation Guide

The e-guide version of the guide gives instant access to all of the colorful photos, feature articles, and descriptions of the state’s attractions, lodging, historic locales, entertainment venues, golf courses, outdoor adventures and more.

More than 500,000 guides are available for distribution at the state’s 14 Welcome Centers and to tourists requesting the publication via tnvacation.com and 1.800.GO2.TENN. To order the vacation guide in bulk, please contact Gladys Carr at (615) 741-9005 or gladys.carr@tn.gov.

For more information, please contact Cindy Dupree at (615) 741-9010 or by e-mail at Cindy.Dupree@tn.gov. You can also contact Leah Caudle at (615) 532-7822 or by e-mail at Leah.Caudle@tn.gov.

2010 Tennessee Sampler Express March 9 – 11

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is excited to announce the 2010 TENNESSEE SAMPLER EXPRESS, March 9 – 11, 2010. “Express” has been added to this year’s event because it is a mini version of the Tennessee Sampler from years past. With a grassroots and economical approach, we will take teams on the road along six different routes, conducting PR and sales calls to AAA offices and tour operators and pitching to various media outlets. 

In the past, Tennessee Sampler has been a successful multi-day event in one key market that included sales calls and a trade show event at a hotel and featured musical entertainment. This year, we will not have a trade show experience. Instead, we will divide and conquer several feeder markets with a comprehensive sales and PR blitz in markets surrounding our state.

There is NO registration fee for this year’s Sampler. The only cost will be personal travel expenses, which includes hotel accommodations for two nights, meals and the cost of rental vehicles split among the team. Each team will have a team captain who will help secure the sales and PR calls and facilitate all logistics.

Civil War

Civil War Sesquicentennial Web site Launched

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission announce the launch of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Web site, marking the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The Web site serves as an online tool to reach and inspire users to explore Tennessee’s rich history surrounding the state’s involvement in the Civil War. 

The department and commission worked in partnership with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area to develop a Web site to honor the five-year commemoration of the war from 2011 through 2015. 

“The launch of this comprehensive Web site puts Tennessee’s Civil War history at the fingertips of the world,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “The Sesquicentennial commemoration is the perfect time to explore our state’s important Civil War history, which continues to be uncovered as local communities and state historians interpret sites along Tennessee’s statewide Civil War Trail.”

Five major features on the Web site provide a comprehensive look at Tennessee’s pivotal role in the war. The History section gives a detailed picture of how the war evolved throughout the state and altered the lives of residents. The Timeline explores the many national stories that unfolded because of Tennessee’s involvement in the Civil War. The Trails section provides a comprehensive map to assist in trip planning throughout the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage area and highlights the 150 markers on the state’s new Civil War Trail. The Attractions feature gives information about the trails, markers, battlefields, Civil War-related museums and other attractions located throughout the state. Teaching Tools offers photos, videos, maps, flags and educational links related to the Civil War. These tools will assist in planning a visit to Tennessee and provide teachers with lesson plans and other helpful teaching tools.

“The Web site is an excellent and efficient tool that allows Tennesseans and our millions of visitors to explore the whole story of the state's nationally significant Civil War years," said Dr. Carroll Van West, director, MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

The Web site offers member information on the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and details on a series of major signature conferences to be sponsored by the Commission. Presenters at these forums will discuss the battles, events and stories of the Civil War, as well as offer brief dramas and musical performances. These five events, one held each year of the commemoration, are part of the Commission’s mission to promote, fund and preserve the complete story of the Tennessee Civil War experience and its legacy.

For more information, please visit www.tncivilwar150.com.

Civil War Trails Markers Unveiled in Chattanooga

In late January, Chattanooga unveiled twelve historical markers as part of the Tennessee Civil War Trails program. 

Comm. Susan Whitaker joins Chattanooga officials at the
installation of a Civil War Trails marker.

The Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsored eleven of the markers, which mark various sites throughout the city with Civil War significance.  These sites include locations in downtown Chattanooga and on Lookout Mountain.  The twelfth site is sponsored by the Tennessee Aquarium and is located on the riverfront at the city pier.

With 12 markers, Chattanooga is second in number of markers behind Franklin/Williamson County, which leads with 14 markers. 

This program has been made possible by two federal enhancement grants provided by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.  By hitting the benchmark of 150 historical markers, we have successfully utilized the funds from the first grant.  The second grant allows for another 150 markers giving the state 300 markers total.  We hope to accomplish this goal by the start of 2011 as we move into commemorating the Tennessee Sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Tennessee.

For further information, contact Noell Rembert at noell.rembert@tn.gov or 615-532-8077.

Black History Month Events in Tourism

National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis

During Black History Month in February, stories of courage and triumph will be told throughout Tennessee with music, exhibits and programs.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nashville Sit-In Movement and this time of year proves exciting as the state remembers life before and after the civil rights movement.

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis will host educational workshops, lectures, exhibitions and events to celebrate the culture and contributions of African American advancement throughout the month.

In Nashville, B.B. Kings Blues Club and Restaurant will host the “Music City Soul Series” each Thursday in February, featuring a different group of artists to perform soul music in celebration of Black History Month.

The Living Heritage Museum in Athens will present the “Black History “Brown Bag” Movie Series” in February. The series features films and documentaries that examine Negro League baseball teams, civil rights demonstrations and other key points during the civil rights movement.

Additionally, a sampling of activities from across the state are listed below.

East Tennessee –

Knoxville – The Beck Cultural Exchange Center is a learning museum of African-American history and culture that researches, collects, conserves and exhibits achievements of African Americans. The museum’s exhibitions are on display 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum's Web site

Middle Tennessee –

Nashville – The Tennessee State Museum will present an ongoing exhibit called, “We Shall Not Be Moved: 50th Anniversary of Tennessee’s Civil Rights Sit-Ins,” Feb. 4-May 17. The exhibit examines the background, events and effects surrounding the 1960s sit-in movement. For more information, please contact Mary Skinner at (615) 253-0103 or visit tnmuseum.org.

West Tennessee –

Henning – Visit the Alex Haley Museum, the boy hood home and final resting place of author Alex Haley.  The Museum contains memorabilia and family artifacts.  Call (731) 738-2240.

2010 Southeast Tourism Society Spring Meeting in Nashville

Refresh.Renew.Recharge. This is the theme of the 2010 Southeast Tourism Society’s (STS) Spring Meeting to be held March 22-24 at the Loews Vanderbilt in Nashville.

As STS so aptly put it on their Web site, “We’ve all been on a roller coaster over the last two years, and we really need a moment to reflect. We’ve had highs and lows, ups and down, and quite a few twists and turns. What have we not experienced? Signs are starting to turn positive, however. The U.S. Travel Association says things look promising for 2010, and almost all of us have individual indicators that encourage optimism.”

As travel and tourism compatriots from across the Southeast, now is the right time to meet, examine our industry and prepare for the next portion of the business cycle. It’s time to come together in Nashville for the Three R’s: Refresh, Renew and Recharge.

Program highlights include Sustainable Tourism, Engaging the New Value Seekers, Working in Print, Tourism Funding, Research to Marketing and Economic Update, and the Impact on Travel Trends.

A special service project focuses on the Hermitage-Home of President Andrew Jackson.  Ask anyone who has worked on an STS volunteer project and the response is always immediate and enthusiastic.  You can spend a couple of hours Monday, March 22, working on the grounds of this esteemed location, while making new friends.  Lunch is included.

Other activities include a tour of Nashville and golfing at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links.  For more information about registration go to www.southeasttourism.org.

2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism


Save the Date....September 22-24, 2010 will be here before we know it, so mark your calendars now for the Governor's Conference on Tourism at the lovely Meadowview Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport. Details about events, speakers and unique sessions will be forthcoming.

Facts & Trends

Save Your Tourism Budget
Dr. Steve Morse, director of the Tourism Institute at the University of Tennessee, will be the speaker in an upcoming webinar, “Explaining the Economic Value of Tourism to Your Local Officials”. Dr. Morse will focus on tourism consumer demand trends, tourism demand patterns and examining the role of the hospitality and tourism sectors. 

The free webinar will be presented online on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 from 10:00 – 11:00 AM ET. 

It is part of Southeast Tourism Society's Continuing Education and Professional Outreach Program (POP) which offers online sessions covering an array of topics.  


Watchable Wildlife in Tennessee
165 – The number of places listed online to watch wildlife in Tennessee. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has just completed their new web site, TNWatchableWildlife.org, and focuses on non-game species with fabulous photos.  The site assists tourists as well as “locals” in easily searching the birds of Tennessee by habitat, color, use of backyards or feeders, among other search options. In addition, users will be able to read about the birds of Tennessee, see pictures, hear songs and calls, and find places to see them with interactive maps.

Tennessee Greenways and Trails
749 – The number of greenways and trails in Tennessee listed at  www.connectwithtn.com.  To find a trail, go to the map of Tennessee, click on the region and then click on the name of the county.  Scroll down and you will find the list of trails for that county. 

Welcome Center

New Welcome Center Coming to Mitchellville

The Mitchellville Welcome Center, located on I-65 in Robertson County will soon have a new facility.  The old center was closed the end of January and a temporary center  will be located off Exit #108 in White House.  We look forward to having a brand new, larger, cabin style center to better serve the travelers coming to Tennessee.

Industry Applause

Industry Applause is designed to highlight and recognize the achievements of our industry partners.

New Carrier at Memphis Airport
International carrier Air Canada announced that it will enter the Memphis market in May. Operating twice daily, non-stop, year-round service to Toronto, Canada the addition is the first new carrier to join Memphis International Airport since 2007. This addition brings the number of international destinations available from Memphis to four.ar

Land Trust Protects Historic Farm
A 331-acre farm that came to a family as part of a Revolutionary War land grant will be protected from development.  The farm is located in Rutherford County and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Land Trust for Tennessee has helped land owner Pat Sanders place a conservation easement on the property where she lives. Her current residence is the 1869 Greek Revival house built by her late husband's grandparents. The farm originally came into the family as part of a Revolutionary War land grant.

New Mall Project in Gatlinburg
A $1 million shopping and dining development, Carousel Gardens is set to open in March.  This new project will replace the Jim Gray Gallery - destroyed by fire two years ago - with a place where area artists and craft makers will be offered affordable space.

City Receives Grant for Welcome Signs
The city of Dyersburg will clean and fix-up entrances to the city with the help of a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The Roadscapes Grant, provided by TDOT's environmental division, will be used for landscaping and replacing signage at four of the city's gateway entrances.

Natural history photographer
Ken Jenkins

First Friend of the Forge Award
Natural history photographer Ken Jenkins, the man who envisioned the idea of Pigeon Forge’s annual Wilderness Wildlife Week, has received the city’s first “Friend of the Forge” award. Pigeon Forge created the award to acknowledge individuals who have contributed to the city’s success as a tourism destination.

Car Museum in Greeneville
City Garage Car Museum founded by Kent Bewley, a Greeneville native whose family has been in the automobile business since 1937, is a treat for car enthusiasts.  A special section is devoted to the Bewley Motor Co. with the original signs and dealer tags display.  NASCAR is featured in an area with the #4 Kodak Chevrolet driven by Sterling Marlin, who won the 1994 Daytona 500 race.  The Emporium, the Palace Movie Theatre and Suzie Q’s diner add much to the museum.

Gatlinburg Aquarium Opens New Playhouse
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tenn., will open its new $5-million Penguin Playhouse in March. The exhibit will showcase a colony of African black-footed penguins in an indoor/outdoor habitat.  The Penguin Playhouse is modeled after islands along the coast of South Africa. Aquarium guests can crawl through clear underwater acrylic tunnels and pop up on the penguin’s private beach to view the birds.

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo’s Attendance Reaches All-Time High
A total of 615,086 guests visited Nashville Zoo in 2009, a record-breaking 16 percent increase from 2008 and an all-time high attendance for the Zoo. Zoo memberships increased by nine percent from 2008 to 24,155 households representing approximately 115,000 people.

Duck River in National Geographic
Tennessee's Duck River is featured in February’s National Geographic magazine as one of the most biologically rich places in the world. Photographer David Liittschwager picked the Duck, along with a coral reef in the Pacific Ocean, Table Mountain in South Africa, and a cloud forest in Costa Rica.

Google Search Ranks TN Green #5
Tnvacation.com/green now ranks 5th in google search for "sustainable travel" - right after National Geographic!  Go Tennessee Tourism!

New Tourism Director for Sumner County
Colleen Coury, CTTP, is the new executive director of the Sumner County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Coury previously held the position of executive director for the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau and replaces Kaye Ireland who retired recently.

Jackson, TN

New Tourism Director for Jackson
Lori Nunnery is the new executive director of the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nunnery previously worked with Jackson Downtown Development Corp., where she was most recently the project manager. She also spent two years as the Resource and Development director for the United Way of West Tennessee.

Quote of the Month
"There are no secrets to success: Don't waste time looking for them. Success is in the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work and persistence."
General Colin Powell,
Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You

Stay Connected Twitter Facebook YouTube TripTales Partner Login