It’s Showtime! The Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Tourism is just a few days away and it’s time for our industry to take center stage. With the theme, “Unique Tourism,” our 2006 conference in Knoxville will have a strong sense of “UT” as we explore new and different opportunities for our ever-growing industry.
This year’s conference showcases Roy Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” known for his trilogy of books, the Wizard of Ads, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads and Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads. I recently had the opportunity to meet and hear Roy at the Travel Industry Association’s (TIA) Educational Seminars for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) Conference in Minneapolis. The information he shared was ground-breaking, blending marketing research with history, and spotlighting current trends that impact tourism as well as other industries. He shared a totally unique way to think about the marketplace and our prospective customers. His insights were both fascinating and compelling; I left thinking of several things we needed to do to successfully reach people with our message in this new day. Without question, you are in for a great learning experience.
:pullquote:In addition, you won’t want to miss the other educational sessions, featuring several outstanding speakers, as well as the many networking events. Our department will be presenting an update on this year’s achievements, current programs and future initiatives.
As you probably know by now, Governor Phil Bredesen announced in June at the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s 65th Annual Meeting that direct domestic and international travel spending reached more than $12.4 billion in 2005, an 8.3 percent increase from 2004. That is excellent news for the entire state, but perhaps even more importantly travel spending increased in every one of Tennessee’s 95 counties for the first time since 1997. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Many thanks to the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable, as well as all exhibitors and partners for their cooperation and support. A special thanks to my staff in the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development for all their hard work in planning this annual event. I am excited about the conference and hope you will share my enthusiasm through your presence and support. See you in Knoxville!
Marketing Road Show Featured In 10 Cities
2006-2007 Marketing Plan Unveiled
Tennessee tourism continues to gain momentum with increased expenditures reported for 2005 and continued aggressive positioning of Tennessee tourism for the coming year. This was the message presented to tourism colleagues around the state in the 10-city marketing road tour outlining the 2006-2007 marketing plan.
The tour began on July 19th, when Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker addressed the Area Attractions Group Luncheon at the Helicopter Headquarters in Pigeon Forge. The tour culminated on August 18th with a meeting in the Tri-cities area facilitated by NETTA. Stops in-between included Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg/Sevierville, Jackson/Martin/Paris, Columbia, and Cookeville. More than 700 tourism professionals attended the meetings.
Announcing a $5.55 million budget for media placement was the linchpin of the report, citing a one-time allocation $4.75 million designated for tourism marketing and approved by Gov. Phil Bredesen and the Tennessee General Assembly. The 2006-2007 marketing initiative is a continuation of the state’s tourism branding campaign “Tennessee. The Stage is Set for You!” through television, radio and print advertisements as well as other niche markets within the state.
:pullquote: Earlier this year, tourism officials conducted state-wide listening tours with industry leaders to solicit input for the 2006-07 marketing plan. Commissioner Whitaker’s presentation reflected the results of these strategic meetings and highlighted the departments’ marketing campaign designed to increase awareness of Tennessee while promoting the state as a prime vacation destination. Enhancements to the 2006-2007 program include additional co-op advertising for partners, offering 50 opportunities for ’06-‘07 vs. nine (9) in the previous year; TV co-ops through tourism’s pay per inquiry program, as well as affordable on-line lead generation programs. The state also announced the debut of Internet Web site Advertising through popular on-line outlets including Travelocity.com, Weather.com, Google and Yahoo and niche outlets like GolfDigest.com, HistoryChannel.com and RVTravel.com. One highlight of the Marketing Road Show was the presentation of the Department’s successful television spot featuring Dolly and Elvis. It was announced that the spot, launched in April of this year, generated more than $2,650,000 in earned media with a total of 380,564,211 print and broadcast impressions. Maintaining strong follow-up to the Dolly and Elvis television campaign, tourism will continue the television spots in the 11 targeted feeder markets of Atlanta, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Lexington, Little Rock, Louisville, Paducah and St. Louis.
“This is an exciting time for Tennessee Tourism,” Whitaker said. “There are so many creative ways to spread the word about our beautiful state. It’s our goal to get the word out effectively, to reach as many people as possible with our message and to have those people decide that Tennessee is their next great vacation destination. And when our visitors leave, we want them to have enough Tennessee memories to last a lifetime.”
In addition to Co-op, Television, and Internet elements, the 2006-2007 marketing plan includes a national print campaign with ads placed in such publications as Southern Living; “O”, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine; People and Parents.
In the Travel Industry of America Report just in for 2005, all 95 counties in Tennessee saw an increase in tourism expenditures, this, for the first time since 1997. Domestic and international travel spending reached $12.4 billion, an increase of 8.3% over 2004, and travel-related employment rose to 177,700 from 175,000 the previous year.
As Commissioner Whitaker stated, this, indeed, is an exciting time for Tennessee Tourism!
Photo: Clambake™ & ©1967 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TNvacation.com, already an anchor of Tennessee tourism marketing, is a constant work- in-progress with ongoing design and information expansions. Most recently, the site was enhanced to include Shopping and Agritourism as entire featured sections, navigational from the home page. In addition, TNvacation.com recently launched the renovated fall mini-site section as a seasonal drawing card.
The fall mini-site features detailed information on outdoor activities, spectacular scenery and a listing of fall festivities happening all over the state. Visitors to the site will be encouraged to enter our Fall Photo Contest for a chance to win a Tennessee weekend vacation package. The new site also highlights the colorful hues of autumn and gives specific details on the upcoming foliage forecasts- enticing visitors to sample the glorious scenery that awaits all who come to our beautiful state. Visit http://fall.tnvacation.com/.
TNvacation.com’s agritourism section offers the web site visitor an array of detailed information about Tennessee’s vast tourism offerings in the arena of agriculture. The Agritourism home page menu offers subheadings for Food & Beverage, Trees & Plants, Farms & Animals, Museums & Attractions. The site also features a link to Pick Your Own Products, Wineries and Distilleries, and Farmer’s Markets. With the click of a mouse, visitors to the web site will find alluring food, farmers’ markets, authentic wines as will as a wealth of greenhouses, corn mazes and pumpkin patches. Visit http://www.tnvacation.com/agritourism/ and see what our state is up to out on the farm.
The Shopping section is equally informative. Offered as a featured division and highlighting the favorite pastime of Tennessee vacationers, this expansive category includes Malls & Specialty Stores, Outlet Malls, Towne Squares, Main Street Shopping, Made in Tennessee Products, and Tennessee Farmer’s Markets. In addition, the web site visitor has at the click of a button the list of Tennessee’s most appealing Arts and Historic Districts for shopping as well as primary Antique Shopping opportunities. The site makes a visit to Tennessee as easy as one, two, three with the preplanned shopping trips that allow tourists to combine superior shopping with a variety of family-friendly attractions. For information on shopping visit http://www.tnvacation.com/shopping/.
TNvacation.com is quickly becoming one of the most popular vacation websites in the U.S., having sustained first page positioning on Google’s search engine for “vacation” seekers since early May. For the month of August, TNvacation.com saw more than 358,000 total visitors with more than 2,703,000 page views.
Lawrenceburg Sets the Stage for Country Gospel Awards Show
The Country Gospel Music Guild has announced they will move this year’s annual awards show and ceremonies from Nashville to the Historic Crockett Theatre in Lawrenceburg. Showtime for this much anticipated event is Friday and Saturday, October 6th and 7th.
“This is really a coup for Lawrenceburg,” said theatre manager Anne Morrow, “since we are already well-known as The Birthplace of Southern Gospel Music. Many country gospel music stars will be performing during their engagement here. I expect we’ll see a large crowd of fans filling up our motels and inns for this event.”
Dobbie Poynor, President of the Country Gospel Music Guild, not only acknowledged the historical significance of the town, but also the enthusiasm and support from the theatre and city officials. The Guild held its first awards show in Nashville 10 years ago.
Lawrenceburg’s Crockett Theatre is an art deco style venue, built in 1950, and complete with a custom-laid terrazzo lobby floor. It is one of the few theatres from this era still operating in the United States. It is listed on the National Historic Registry.
Groups such as The Singing Carter Family with Mother Maybelle have graced its stage. Senator Fred Thompson was honored with a Tribute at the Crockett Theatre in July of this year. Today, the stage is named to honor the work of Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Jeter, a native of Lawrenceburg, TN.
The town’s cultural heritage has been a driving force for tourism in Lawrence County. It is the place that David Crockett once called home. The downtown square features a statue of the frontiersman and is home to several museums, including the Cherokee & David Crockett Museum & Cultural Center, David Crockett Cabin/Museum, the Old Jail Museum and the James D Vaughn Museum where Southern Gospel Music was born.
The immigration of an Amish community north of the town in 1944 also draws attention to the community’s culture.
Other events include the annual Liberty Festival, which will include Beverly Hillbillies star Donna Douglas (Ellie May Clampett), the Antique Tractor/Engine Show, an Antique Car Show, David Crockett Days at the David Crockett State Park, the State Championship Barbecue Cook-off and more.
Visit www.chamberofcommerce.lawrence.tn.us/tourism.php for more information.
Showtime is a featured article on a unique tourism attraction, event or activity.
The I-55 Welcome Center
Located just three miles north of the Mississippi border on Interstate 55 is the inviting sight of the Tennessee Welcome Center!
Managed by Betty Settles, the center drew 161,000 visitors in 2005. "Before the I-40 Center was built, people would drive from downtown to get information about the city," said Settles, a 21-year veteran of the department.
"At one time, we kept a guest book in the lobby. Visitors would come in from as far as England, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands," she added.
:pullquote:While there is no longer a record keeping system in place there, Settles knows by speaking with the guests that international travelers still visit the Center.
Settles added, "During Memphis in May, visitors from the host country always come by for information."
Several of the State's Welcome Centers have artwork displayed that is commissioned by the Tennessee Arts Commission. The I-55 Center is no exception. Proudly displayed on the property is Pyradoptics, by local sculptor Tom Wuchina. Each project was funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
To contact the I-55 Welcome Center please call 901-543-7628.
Pyradoptics photo courtesy of Victoria Boone
Who moved my….warehouse?!?!?! Ok, that may have been cheesy (pun intended) but the Department of Tourist Development Warehouse has recently relocated to Centennial Boulevard in Nashville.
All of the vacation guides, state maps and other materials have been moved to the new location and the Cowan Street warehouse will no longer accept deliveries.
The new address is:
Department of Tourist Development Warehouse
c/o Central Stores
6500 Centennial Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37243-8020
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Frank Thomas. His new office phone number is 615-350-3387 and the fax number is 615-350-3391.
Giles County will restore and re-dedicate the 100 year old Sam Davis Monument. The original dedication took place in October 1906 during the reunion of Confederate Veterans.
Also Giles County has been selected to host the 2007 World Field Target Airgun Championships in Pulaski. The Giles County Tourism Foundation received official notification in July from the World Field Target Federation.
Congratulations to Garry Mason, Northwest Tennessee Tourism, on the success of the 2006 Legends of the Outdoors banquet. More than 200 guests watched as six new legends were inducted into the Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees were: Ralph Kohler, Ralph McDonald, Pat Peacock, Jack Wingate, Forrest Wood, Stan Sloan and Hank Parker.
Dollywood’s Splash Country Announces $2.75 Million Expansion
The Cascades is set to open in 2007. Offering a unique blend of adventure and tranquility, the Cascades expansion features a lagoon-style, 7,500-sq. ft., beach entry pool. The pool’s centerpiece is a waterfall that spills from a giant rock grotto. In addition, there will be 20 ft. water sprays from a geyser, 25 interactive elements and a series of small coves for younger guests.
:pullquote:Christmas in Collierville Named Top 20 Event in Southeast.
Main Street Collierville’s 13th Annual Christmas in Collierville was recognized by Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events for the Fall. “It’s an incredible honor for Main Street Collierville to have been selected as one of the Top 20 events from 11 states,” said Laura Todd, executive director of Main Street Collierville. “Knowing that our town and our events are appreciated by others is very rewarding.”
2006 STS Marketing College Students
Congratulations to the Tennessee tourism practitioners who attended this year’s STS Marketing College in Dahlonega, Georgia. Tennessee was well-represented with tourism professionals from across the state.
1st year class:
Charles Brewton, Cheryl Ellis, Abbie Gristy, Brian Holland, Linda Lewanski, Jennifer Littlejohn, Marty Marbry, Lila Wilson
2nd year class:
Joy McKee–McNealy, Ben Humphries, Tana Shupe, Beth Smith
3rd year class:
Rhonda Adams, Candace Davis, Tanya Irwin, Jennifer Wheatley, Nicky Reynolds, Barbara Wolke
Wendy Bryant, Lenora Conn, Bethe Pope, Derrick Smith, Ricky Rodriguez, Ann Ross
Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You