a message from Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Colleagues and Industry Friends,

Industry Spotlight

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To view the commercial visit www.tnvacation.com

In a broadcast television first, Tennessee music superstars Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley meet on screen to promote their home state. The newest commercial from the Department of Tourist Development features Dolly riding alongside Elvis in a digital scene recreation from the 1967...

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Tennessee River Trails to Receive Funding for National Scenic Byway

The Tennessee River Trails Association will receive $187,264 from the Federal Highway Administration to design a National Scenic Byways corridor management plan.

The association submitted the application for funding with the endorsement of the Tennessee Department of Transportation in order to finance the planning of sustainable economic growth through tourism...

Read more

Summertime in Tennessee

By Garry Mason, Tennessee Outdoor Guide

Tennessee in the summertime is all about great vacations. From festivals to museums, hiking, camping, amusement parks and heritage tours, Tennessee has something for everyone. Spend a day or a week on one of our pristine lakes or rivers to round out the...

Read more

Industry Applause

Dollywood Unveils New Timber Tower
Dollywood recently unveiled its new $6.5 million Timber Tower, the only ride of its kind in North America! The 65 foot tall ride provides thrill-seekers an amazing 2.5 minute ride featuring dual rotation above a 5,100-sq.-ft. pond. The ride appears to splash riders into the...

Read more

Dear Colleagues and Industry Friends,

Tourism’s busiest season is rapidly approaching. In my travels across the state these past few weeks, I’ve once again been moved by the beauty and grandeur of Tennessee. I’m confident in declaring to our visitors, “Come to Tennessee where the stage is set for you!”

In last month’s newsletter, I referred to the firepower of our new advertising campaign. Little did I know what kind of firepower would be happening with our TV commercial featuring Dolly and Elvis. This broadcast television first has generated national and international attention.

Even as I am writing this letter, reports are coming in that more than 220 broadcasters around the country aired our commercial on their news and entertainment programs.

What a thrill to see Tennessee tourism featured on “Entertainment Tonight”, “CNN Headline News”,  “Showbiz Today”, NBC’s “Early Morning Show” and Fox News.

Newspapers around the globe have covered this major breaking story, including outlets in Australia, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Holland. The U.S. newspaper coverage, to date, includes Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Atlanta and an additional 170+ print media.

Tennessee newspapers and television broadcasts have helped put this story front and center in our state with thorough and enthusiastic coverage.

Not only have we seen this unprecedented coverage for the Tennessee tourism commercial campaign, but we also received a tremendous endorsement for outdoor recreation in Tennessee when Dale Hollow and Center Hill Lakes made the U.S.A. Today list for “10 great places to go float your houseboat.”

The world is being reminded of what we already know; Tennessee is the perfect place for the perfect vacation.

Warmest wishes,

Susan Whitaker
Commissioner

a message from Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker
Featured Article 

To view the commercial visit www.tnvacation.com

In a broadcast television first, Tennessee music superstars Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley meet on screen to promote their home state. The newest commercial from the Department of Tourist Development features Dolly riding alongside Elvis in a digital scene recreation from the 1967 Elvis film, "Clambake."

The ad, conceived by Memphis advertising agency Chandler Ehrlich, signifies the first time Elvis has digitally appeared with another celebrity for a television commercial. Directed by Jacques Bailhe, the commercial captures the range of culture and music found in Tennessee and represented by Dolly and Elvis, two of the state’s most renowned entertainers.

According to Dolly, the commercial was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Riding in a convertible with Elvis? What more could a girl ask for?” she continued. “I am so proud of my Tennessee heritage, and I am thrilled and incredibly honored to be promoting our great state alongside the world’s most legendary superstar.”

:pullquote:The broadcast commercial features Dolly and Elvis side by side cruising through Tennessee together. How is it done? By shooting Dolly in High Definition against what’s called a “green screen,” and then removing all the green from the shot in post production and replacing it with the original background of Elvis in "Clambake." Dolly was then able to be digitally placed in the car with Elvis.

“The idea behind the commercial is to bring together two international stars that symbolize Tennessee’s unparalleled musical history,” Gov. Phil Bredesen said. “The commercial is a positive, energetic and unforgettable celebration of Tennessee’s past, present and future.”

"This represents a very rare time that Elvis Presley Enterprises has allowed an Elvis film to be digitally altered. But we know that Elvis admired Dolly. And no one loved Graceland and Tennessee more than Elvis, so we agreed knowing how proud he would be to welcome the world to visit," said Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises.

The commercial is being aired in the state’s 14 feeder markets including Atlanta, Birmingham, Greenville-Sparta-Asheville, Little Rock, Louisville, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Huntsville, Lexington, Indianapolis, Paducah, Ft. Smith, Bowling Green and Jonesboro. The new ad temporarily replaces the spot launched in 2004 featuring Dolly and soul singer Isaac Hayes. After a few weeks, the Dolly/Elvis ad will go into rotation with the older ones.

The unique and entertaining concept of bringing the two musical icons together for the first time has prompted national and international media exposure from such outlets as - Entertainment Tonight, CNN, Fox, USA Today and The Associated Press. The ad also spurred attention from statewide media and was also featured in publications throughout major U.S. cities and overseas.

Tennessee River Trails to Receive Funding for National Scenic Byway

The Tennessee River Trails Association will receive $187,264 from the Federal Highway Administration to design a National Scenic Byways corridor management plan.

The association submitted the application for funding with the endorsement of the Tennessee Department of Transportation in order to finance the planning of sustainable economic growth through tourism and recreation for the nine counties that border the Tennessee River in West and Middle Tennessee.

Tennessee River Trails Association is a regional economic development effort including the counties of Benton, Decatur, Hardin, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Perry, Stewart and Wayne. The association board of directors is comprised of county mayors, executives from four Tennessee development districts, area tourism leaders and private citizens. The association has worked for two years to access this crucial funding. Once the corridor management plan is completed, the association will apply designation as a National Scenic Byway or All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration.

“Partnering with federal and state highway departments in this effort had the potential to bring unprecedented opportunities for growth to this wonderful area that, unfortunately has not had the economic growth of some of the other regions in Tennessee,” said Paige Holmes, TRTA program administrator.

“This plan will be developed and implemented with local leadership. Tennessee River Trails Association is a grassroots planning organization and will always depend on local communities to provide direction in planning and growth,” she continued.

Summertime in Tennessee

By Garry Mason, Tennessee Outdoor Guide

Tennessee in the summertime is all about great vacations. From festivals to museums, hiking, camping, amusement parks and heritage tours, Tennessee has something for everyone. Spend a day or a week on one of our pristine lakes or rivers to round out the perfect Tennessee vacation.

From the beautiful bristling mountain lakes of East Tennessee to the mighty Mississippi River that runs along the western boarder of this great state, Tennessee is a wonderful water playground for just about anyone who loves any type of water recreation.

Just this week, Dale Hollow and Center Hill Lakes were listed in U.S.A. Today’s article proclaiming “10 great places to go float your houseboat.” These two Tennessee lakes, along with our other remarkable waterways, provide vacationers with some of the best water adventures in the country. There’s nothing like cooling down in one of Tennessee’s lakes or rivers.

We have within our borders, the largest man-made lake in the United States which is Kentucky Lake, as well as the historic Reelfoot Lake, both in west Tennessee.

Middle Tennessee has Percy Priest, Old Hickory, Tim's Ford, Normandy, Cheatham, Cordell Hull, Center Hill, Lake Barkley, Pickwick and Dale Hollow, the home of the world record smallmouth bass.

East Tennessee has South Holston, Melton Hill, Telico, Cherokee, Chickamauga, Boone, Douglas, Norris, Nickajack, Woods Reservoir and Watts bar.

Many Tennessee lakes offer everything from great fishing - for largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, walleye and catfish - as well as camping, water skiing, boating and hiking trails along scenic shorelines. After 50 years, Dale Hollow still holds the worlds’ record for a smallmouth bass caught in July 1955, weighing 11 pounds and 15 ounces.

Rivers in Tennessee - Duck, Buffalo, Obey, Piney, Clinch, Little Pigeon, French Broad, Hatchie, Obion, Forked Deer, and the Harpeth - were for hundreds of years, trade routes for the Native Americans which lived in Tennessee. They have now been transformed into scenic wonderlands with breathtaking stone walls that have been carved out by nature over thousands of years and are only accessible by boat or canoe.

Tennessee has the Ocoee, where whitewater rafters can take a stab at the Olympic level rapids. For more relaxing water adventures, there’s canoeing down a lazy river, lounging on a pontoon boat, skiing over the slick water of an open lake, or speeding away to a favorite fishing hole. The wonderful waterways of Tennessee have something for everyone to enjoy.

Industry Applause

Dollywood Unveils New Timber Tower
Dollywood recently unveiled its new $6.5 million Timber Tower, the only ride of its kind in North America! The 65 foot tall ride provides thrill-seekers an amazing 2.5 minute ride featuring dual rotation above a 5,100-sq.-ft. pond. The ride appears to splash riders into the water below and “drops” passengers near a sawmill blade, bear cave, water geyser, beaver dam and a treacherous log jam! With a 40-passenger capacity, Timber Tower will accommodate 565 riders per hour.

Designsensory Honored at the 10th Annual Webby Awards
Knoxville-based creative firm Designsensory, was recently honored at the 10th Annual Webby Awards for the design of the TNvacation.com website! Of the more than 5,500 entries submitted, fewer than 20% were distinguished as an Official Honoree. Since launching the new site, daily visits are up 51% with average page views up 37%. Congratulations to Brandon Rochelle, Joseph Nother and the entire Designsensory team.

Casey Jones Museum Turns 50!
The Casey Jones Museum recently celebrated their 50th anniversary! The Casey Jones Museum officially opened on the anniversary of his famous last ride on April 30, 1956. Today the Casey Jones Museum includes the home, a 130 ton steam locomotive similar to #382, railcars with model train exhibits and the Casey Jones Train Store, the official gift shop of the museum.

Nashville Zoo Welcomes Giraffes to Music City
The world's tallest land animals made their debut on April 21, when Nashville Zoo officially opened its new giraffe Savannah. The 1.5 acre exhibit, and 4,800 square foot holding facility are now home to three rare Masai giraffes; Margarita, Congo and Savannah. Kudos to the Zoo for their successful "Stick Your Neck Out" campaign which raised $3 million to build the exhibit and bring the giraffes to Music City.

Looking Ahead
Mark your calendar for the Governor's Conference on Tourism September 20-22, 2006 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Industry Spotlight