Governor’s Conference 2011 Begins Wednesday
The 2011 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held Oct. 5-7 in Memphis, Tenn. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. This year’s theme is “Taking Care of Business.” The conference is presented in partnership with the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable, a statewide association uniting the various stakeholders involved in the tourism industry. Gov. Bill Haslam will address tourism industry partners in addition to the “State of the Industry Address” delivered by Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
This year’s five educational seminars will highlight a wide range of relevant topics vital to the tourism industry including social media marketing, the importance of adventure tourism and advertising strategies. Each seminar will offer expert panelists along with in-depth presentations and discussion.
Partnering Tourism with Tennessee’s New Four-Point Economic Development Plan
Governor Bill Haslam recently announced the new statewide “JOBS4TN Economic Development” plan that outlines four key strategies to be used in local areas and regions across the state. In this seminar, tourism partners will be given strategies and suggestions about how their local tourism organization can partner with these new economic development plans.
Adventure tourism is an important and fast-growing part of the leisure travel industry, generating $89 billion in travel expenditures in the United States in 2010. This seminar will help define ways to develop and market adventure tourism activities and how adventure tourism can successfully assist in the preservation and protection of the state’s natural resources.
Tourism Turn-Arounds: Being Successful by Thinking Outside the Box
Yes, the current economic times are challenging for all businesses – and travel-related businesses are no exception. Tourism partners will be inspired and challenged by this seminar that will feature several Tennessee tourism businesses that have been successful by “doing new things in new ways” – and in most cases, without a lot of money!
Making Strong Connections Between Print Advertising and Your Website
Are the worlds of print advertising and web-based marketing completely separate? Not if they are planned correctly. This seminar will provide tourism partners with insight into making those strong connections, tracking the results and maximizing return on investment.
Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Plan: Tips, Tactics and Best Practices
Facebook, Twitter, blogs, microblogs, podcasts and more: social networking now accounts for 22 percent of all time spent online in the U.S. This seminar will outline the basics of developing such a plan and will look at the most successful methods in use in the travel industry.
Industry Segment Open Discussion Forums
These open discussion forums will provide tourism partners with the opportunity to dialogue with industry peers on current issues and trends, common problems and solutions and to share successful ideas and best practices by industry segment: Destination Management/Marketing Organizations, Attractions and Lodging & Dining.
The conference is open to all tourism industry partners. For information about the schedule of events, visit the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable’s website at www.tenntourismroundtable.com or call (615) 734-9380.
2,500 Attend Tennessee’s 2011 Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Tennessee’s Sesquicentennial Commission hosted the state’s second Sesquicentennial Signature Event Sept. 6 and 7 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. The theme for the event was “Civil War in the Borderland” at which Kix Brooks, country music artist and owner of Arrington Vineyards, made a special appearance.
The event, consisting of historical discussions, musical performances, stories and living history demonstrations, drew a crowd, including 1500 students and teachers. TTU joined 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.
Dr. Gary Gallagher of the University of Virginia provided the keynote address on Sept. 6. Gallagher’s presentation, sponsored by the Upper Cumberland Civil War Roundtable and Tennessee Tech University, featured Understanding the Civil War: Causes, Meaning and Memory After 150 Years.
For the first time, Tennessee State Library and Archives hosted the Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee event as part of the Sesquicentennial Signature. The Looking Back project allows Tennesseans to digitally preserve Civil War photos and memorabilia to create a permanent, public archive online.
For more information, please visit tncivilwar150.com.
L to R: Actor as Mark Twain, Marty Marbry, Colonel
Vernie Reichling, Shawn Bible, Senator Mark Norris,
Paula Hankins, Diana Threadgill
Great River Road Trail Launched in Memphis
The launch of Tennessee’s Great River Road Trail was celebrated at a special reception and official inauguration event Sept. 30 at the Mississippi River Museum on Mud Island River Park. The eighth of 16 self-guided driving tours in the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program, The Great River Road Trail spans 240 miles throughout West Tennessee and is part of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, a 10-state designated route starting in Minnesota and ending at the Gulf of Mexico.
Led by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, The Great River Road Trail is a joint project with the Mississippi River Corridor and the result of multiple state agencies and city and county officials working together. The trail is made up of sites and attractions in Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, Dyer, Obion and Lake Counties, and guides tourists along the Mighty Mississippi River through small towns, natural areas and historic sites.
State and local officials participated in the special event, including Senator Mark Norris; Mayor A.C. Wharton; Colonel Vernie Reichling, district commander of the United States Army Corps of Engineers; Benny Lendermon, president of the Memphis Riverfront Development Corporation; and representatives from the Tennessee Departments of Tourist Development and Transportation.
Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton at the launch event
The Great River Road Trail urges visitors to take in the 64 cultural gems. For more information about Great River Road and other trails, visit tntrailsandbyways.com.
Upcoming trail launches are:
Oct. 12 – Promised Land Trail
Oct. 20 – Ring of Fire Trail
Nov. 4 – Tennessee River Trail
Nov. 17 – Tanasi Trail
Fall Web Assistance Tour
Some spaces remain in the final fall web assistance tour stop for 2011. The Web training team will be in Memphis on Tuesday, October 4, from 2 pm - 4 pm at the Memphis Marriott Downtown.
This session is free to all Tennessee tourism businesses. To reserve your place to get hands-on assistance with tnvacation.com, T3 deals program, tnvacation mobile site and more; email email@example.com. Spots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.
Facts & Trends
This year’s Governor’s Conference Report on Tourism, available online at tnvacation.com/industry after the Conference concludes on Oct. 7, features the 2011 Tennessee Tourism Research Report provided by D.K. Shifflet & Associates.
Among the important highlights for 2010’s Tennessee stats:
-Overall visitation continues to grow
-GenXers are now the dominant generation of visitors
-Georgia is the largest origin market
-Fall and summer are the dominant travel seasons
-Tennessee hosted visitors an average of 2.2 nights (including day trips)
-Daily per-person spending is at $113
-Dining, shopping, entertainment, sightseeing, nature/eco-travel, national/state parks,
and visiting historic sites are some of the most popular activities for Tennessee visitors.
Visit tnvacation.com/industry on October 7, for the complete report.
Employee of the Month
Precious Banks’ name could be considered a play on words. As a Welcome Center Assistant at the Memphis I-40 Welcome Center, her place of work sits on the banks of the Mississippi River and with a life-long commitment to helping others, well, it all comes together.
She has been with the Department of Tourist Development for over 10 years, during which time she has provided excellent customer service. After visiting the Welcome Center, Precious saw a great opportunity. “I thought it would be the best place to work,” said Precious.
She takes great pride in her job as well as ensures that our guests have a wonderful experience while visiting Tennessee. Once a senior lady, who was afraid of heights, had driven over the bridge from Arkansas and entered the Welcome Center perplexed from the experience. Precious offered to drive the woman back over the bridge in order for her to return home safely. This is just one of the many reasons Precious is our Tennessee Welcome Centers Employee of the Month for September 2011.
Over the past year Precious made 612 hotel reservations, which ranks third statewide among our Welcome Center Assistants. She also enjoys greeting visitors while assisting them with finding attractions and dining, as well as lodging.
Coolidge Park, Chattanooga
Industry Applause is designed to highlight and recognize the achievements of our industry partners.
Chattanooga Tops Outside magazine’s “Best Towns Ever” List
Outside magazine, America's leading active-lifestyle publication, has selected Chattanooga as the winner in its search to determine the best Outside town in America. Outside scoured the nation to find dream cities that offered a balance of great culture, perfect scenery, stress-free and reasonable cost of living, and, of course, easy access to the outdoors. Chattanooga came out on top, receiving the official honor of Outside's "Best Towns Ever" and is featured on the October 2011 magazine cover.
Gatlinburg one of the best places for family vacation
Trip Advisor named Gatlinburg as one of their top destinations for family vacations and one of the top places to see the colorful fall leaves. The 2010 Travelers Choice Destination Awards are based on millions of reviews and opinions from travelers on Tripadvisor.com.
Forbes Announces Top 10 Destinations
Forbes Top 10 Great American Destinations ranks the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as # 9 with 9.04 million annual visitors.
Nashville Plans Museum on African American Music
The intention of a new museum for Nashville is to expand awareness of the Music City and the origins of country music. The National Museum of African American Music will show locals and tourists how the city played an important role in nurturing African American music, which in turn influenced the roots of country and many other American genres.
Clarksville Market #1
Clarksville’s Downtown Market at Public Square was voted #1 in the state of Tennessee and #15 in the nation, in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. The contest is hosted each year by American Farmland Trust. This is the second year in a row the Clarksville Downtown Market has won first place in the state of Tennessee
Located on Highway 57 South in Pickwick a new billboard proclaims that Tourism Works in Hardin County. Sponsored by the Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau the board touts information provided by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the U.S. Travel Association – The Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee Counties 2009.
Forbes Names Mirimichi in 12 Best Value Golf Courses in US
According to Forbes every golf course on this list is of exceptional quality, as well as, location and price. All of these can be played for less than $100, often far less. That’s where Mirimichi shines. In 2007, native Tennessean Justin Timberlake bought a financially troubled Memphis course and pumped $16 million bucks into it, turning it into one of the most eco-friendly courses in the world and reopening it as the 7,400-yard Mirimichi. Mirimichi is the only course on earth with both Audubon Sanctuary and the rarer Golf Environmental Organization certified status, and Timberlake is said to be working towards the highest LEED Platinum certification for the buildings. Landing on the list, Mirimichi costs just $59-$71, and also offers a short course and a natural grass putting course.
Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You