Tenn. Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker wins national tourism directors award (Washington Post) Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker has been chosen 2013 State Tourism Director of the Year. The honor is being announced Monday by the U.S. Travel Association’s National Council of State Tourism Directors at a luncheon in Richmond, Va. The award is made annually to the state tourism director who contributes to successfully raising the profile of their state as a travel and tourism destination, selecting the individual exhibiting the most impressive achievements. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-19/national/41423305_1_state-tourism-tourist-development-destination
Dollywood To Get $300 Million Upgrade (Today Show) Country music singer-songwriter Dolly Parton Told TODAY in an exclusive interview what aired Wednesday morning that she’s expanding her Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Theme park. As part of a 10-year, $300 million project, a new “family” roller coaster is in the works for 2014, said Parton, with a resort hotel to follow in 2015. The add-ons will create thousands of jobs in the area. http://www.today.com/travel/dollywood-get-300-million-upgrade-6C10965283
Tennessee Town Anticipates Tourism Boom Following Dollywood Expansion (AP) To see the future of Dollywood, you need to borrow the vision of its chief imaginer, Dolly Parton. In the near future, Parton sees a resort hotel lobby with a three-story window that frames Mount LeConte — one of the tallest peaks in the Smoky Mountains. Guests will be able to book a grand suite in the hotel that the entertainer uses when she stays in the Pigeon Forge theme park that bears her name. http://skift.com/2013/08/21/tennessee-town-anticipates-tourism-boom-following-dollywood-expansion/
Jack Daniel's to get $100 million expansion of distillery (WBIR) Brown-Forman Corporation is investing more than $100 million in an expansion of the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg in response to global demand for its signature Tennessee whiskey. The expansion will include the addition of more stills, barrel warehouses and other infrastructure to support the expansion. The expansion should add more than 90 full-time jobs to the distillery over the next five years. http://www.wbir.com/news/article/285469/2/Jack-Daniels-Distillery-plans-major-announcement-today
Lookout Mountain Conservancy earns national recognition (Nooga) The former Sexton-Williams property at the base of Lookout Mountain will soon become part of a new 20-acre public park. The Lookout Mountain Conservancy announced today that it has been awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance. Of the 1,700 groups of this type across the country, only 230 conservation groups have been awarded this accreditation since the fall of 2008. http://www.nooga.com/163177/lookout-mountain-conservancy-earns-national-recognition/
Beans Creek Winery wins top competition awards (Tullahoma News) Tennessee has made global news for its award-winning wines, according to information from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. High on the medals list at the recent Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University was Beans Creek Winery located at 426 Ragsdale Road in Manchester. For its port wine, “Apropos,” Beans Creek Winery was awarded a prestigious Double Gold Medal, meaning that every one of the 44 judges at the event voted for that wine to receive a gold medal, said state viticulture marketing specialist Tammy Algood. Beans Creek Winery also won a silver medal for its Sparkling Strawberry and a bronze for its Chardonel. In all. Tennessee wineries took home a total of 21 medals, Algood said.
Locals rank Shelby Farms Greenline as favorite TN trail The Shelby Farms Greenline was ranked by the Rails-to-Trails conservancy as the best loved trail in the state of Tennessee. The group ranked the top ten favorite trails in the state, based on feedback from trail-users across the state. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors.
Chattanooga tourism hits new record (with video) Hamilton County tourists spent more than $989 million last year -- and numbers like that make an $8 million increase in the state's tourism budget a no-brainer for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Haslam discussed Tennessee's tourism industry in front of about 1,000 people at the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau annual meeting Friday. "When we talk about recruiting business to come to Tennessee, we tend to think about big manufacturers -- which we love and are really important -- but tourism really does drive a lot of employment in Tennessee and a lot of revenue for local and state governments," he said after the program ended. "We're more than confident we'll make at least that much back through sales tax collection." Haslam jumped the state's tourism budget from about $20 to $28 million, a 36 percent increase. It's an investment he says will pay off. "Right now we do about $15 billion a year in tourism in the state," he said. "If we can increase that even 5 percent, that's a billion dollars a year, which translates into $70 million in sales tax. So we're putting together a strategy on how we get folks to come to Tennessee, and how to get them to stay longer." People already are staying longer in Hamilton County, said Bob Doak, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau. Hoteliers booked 156,000 rooms during the last fiscal year, an all-time record high. http://timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/17/chattanooga-tourism-hits-new-record/
Thousands honor Elvis Presley at Graceland vigil (Miami Herald) Elvis Presley fans from around the world made their annual pilgrimage to Graceland on Thursday to pay their respects to the rock n’ roll icon with a solemn candlelight vigil on the 36th anniversary of his death. Thousands of Presley fans carried lit candles as they walked silently through the Mediation Garden at Graceland, Presley’s longtime Memphis home. The garden is the location of Presley’s grave and also is the spot where his mother, father and grandmother are buried. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/16/3566752/thousands-honor-elvis-presley.html#storylink=cpy
2013 record breaking year for Nashville hotels (Business Journal) Nashville reached a record in fiscal year 2013 for hotel occupancy tax collections, a source of funding for the new Music City Center, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. Collections climbed 8.6 percent to $36.9 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to a news release. In June, when the city hosted the CMA Festival, revenue totaled $4 million, the highest collections in one month, and exceeded the previous monthly record in June 2012 by 8.3 percent. The occupancy tax broke monthly records in 11 out of 12 months. http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2013/08/29/hotel-occupancy-tax-collection-hit.html
Tennessee installs permanent Civil War exhibits in state Welcome Centers (Daily Herald) Permanent Civil War exhibits were recently installed in Tennessee Welcome Centers. The purpose of the Civil War exhibits is to educate visitors and Tennesseans as to the important role Tennessee played in the Civil War. Each Tennessee Civil War Exhibit features an overview of Tennessee’s role in the Civil War, as well as the regional impact of the Civil War and will also promote rural tourism development through the Tennessee Civil War Trail and Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways programs. http://columbiadailyherald.com/sections/lifestyles/features/tennessee-installs-permanent-civil-war-exhibits-state-welcome-centers
Labor Day weekend spurs 34 million travelers to hit the road (Times Free Press) Jerry Lewis and his wife, Anna, packed up their RV Thursday to make the drive from Georgia to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for a Labor Day camping trip. They're meeting friends from Ohio and plan to do a little fishing, a little shopping, a little sitting around the fire. "We're just going to socialize and sit around the campground," Lewis said, adding that the week's spike in gas prices didn't change his plans. "You just try to go somewhere and then stay there for a while." Lewis is one of 34.1 million Americans expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this weekend, a 4.2 percent increase from last year and what could be a new post-Recession high, according to the American Automobile Association.
Tennessee Tourism’s Labor Day Travel Ideas Include Festivals, History, Culture And More (Chattanoogan) Labor Day is fast approaching and Tennessee has visitors covered for the long weekend. It’s the perfect opportunity to attend the nation’s largest Labor Day fireworks display; celebrate the greatness of the annual Southern Heritage Classic; and take in culture like a local at Nashville’s Shakespeare in the Park. Here are just a few ideas and for more information and events, visit www.tnvacation.com/calendar. Festivals-The nation’s largest Labor Day fireworks display can be found at Boomsday Labor Day, Sept. 1 in Knoxville. Arts, crafts, food and fun are on the schedule for the 18th annual Fall Funfest Sept. 6-7 in Cookeville. Visitors can surround themselves with beautiful Middle Tennessee countryside when they attend the Semi-Annual Summertown Bluegrass Reunion Aug. 30-31 in Summertown, TN.
Memphis in May International Festival Salutes Panama as the Honored Country in 2014 (PRWEB) Officials of Memphis in May International Festival announced plans to honor the Republic of Panama for the 38th edition of the festival during its annual year-end review meeting on August 1 at the Memphis Botanic Garden. James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May commented: "Panama is a fascinating country that offers a rich heritage and history along with a vibrant modern culture. We look forward to an exciting celebration in May 2014." http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/8/prweb10993473.htm
Nashville to host major conference for entrepreneurs (Nashville Business Journal) Nashville beat out Boston to host Nerve, the annual East Coast regional conference for the Entrepreneurs' Organization, in 2015, leaders of the group's Nashville chapter announced Thursday. The event will bring more than 500 entrepreneurs from around the U.S. to Music City Center from Sept. 16-18, 2015. http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/morning_call/2013/08/nashville-to-host-major-conference-for.html
Tennessee Tourism partnering with ‘Fishing University’ (Daily Herald) First I would like to congratulate our commissioner of tourism, Susan Whitaker, for being named State Tourism Director of the Year by her peers at the recent U.S. Travel Association’s National Council of State Tourism Directors. I have worked with Susan on several projects and her goal is to showcase the wonderful things we have to share with the rest of the nation and the world right here in Tennessee! With that goal in mind, the Tennessee Department of Tourism, TDEC (State Parks division) and TWRA will be partnering with Maury County’s Charlie Ingram and his syndicated television program “Fishing University” to highlight the fantastic fishing opportunities available in Tennessee’s State Parks during the next year. http://columbiadailyherald.com/sections/opinion/columns/tennessee-tourism-partnering-%E2%80%98fishing-university%E2%80%99.html
Johnny Cash legacy in Nashville tourism and music icon (Eturbonews) September 9 marks a full decade since losing country music icon Johnny Cash; and memorabilia is flying off the presses. The United States Post Office issued a Johnny Cash 1st class stamp this year, hagiographies about the sinner turned preacher are eternally popular, an unauthorized film called My Father and The Man in Black opens in theatres September 6, and there’s a new shrine to JC in downtown Nashville called The Johnny Cash Museum. http://www.eturbonews.com/37514/cashing-country-icon-johnny-cash
Franklin city streets are key to Middle TN segment of U.S. bicycle route (Tennessean) A proposed 174-mile bicycle route from Kentucky to Alabama runs through Franklin City Hall. Tonight, Nashville-area bicycling advocates will ask Franklin leaders to support the creation of U.S. Bicycle Route 23, which would be Tennessee’s first officially designated north-south U.S. Bicycle Route and part of a national network envisioned by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and supported by state road officials. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130827/WILLIAMSON10/308270029/Franklin-city-streets-key-Middle-TN-segment-U-S-bicycle-route
Orpheum hosting 50-cent movie night (Memphis Business Jounral) The Orpheum Theatre is doing its part to remind Memphians of how little it used to cost to go to the movies. As part of the Fall Five Film Series, the Sept. 6 showing of the original “King Kong” will cost 50 cents per person. The film was hand-picked by Pat Halloran, president of the Orpheum. “This is our way of thanking the 12,000-plus people who supported our Summer Movie Series this year,” Halloran said in a statement. “But we also wanted to take audiences back to the ‘old Hollywood’ that this movie represents. Our guests will have an almost unheard of opportunity to watch a 1933 classic in a 1928 theater at mid-1900’s prices.” http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2013/08/27/orpheum-hosting-50-cent-movie-night.html
Off-road bike group develops Laurel Run Trail (Times News) It’s all about getting somewhere you’ve never been before. That’s the sentiment of Jody Millsap and the other members of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association of Tri-Cities. While Millsap knows that some people enjoy riding the same trails year after year, he and other club members are always seeking new adventures by maintaining old trails and building new ones. Their most recent success was getting the Laurel Run Trail, formerly a hiking-only trail, approved for bikers. Millsap, Todd Baker and Eric Baker initially rode the trail in late November 2012 and found that it had not been maintained well with fallen trees on the path. They went back with hand saws and removed the downed trees and other debris http://www.timesnews.net/article/9066798/seeking-new-paths-off-road-bike-group-develops-laurel-run-trail
Tennessee's Fall Creek Falls State Park ruggedly beautiful (Gadsen Times) Fall Creek Falls, located in Falls Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee, is almost three times higher than Gadsden’s Noccalula Falls, and drops 256 feet into a shaded pool. It is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States. How about Pikeville, Tenn., just three hours from Gadsden, 58 miles north of Chattanooga? Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee’s largest state park, is located there, spanning more than 26,000 acres of rugged beauty in Van Buren and Bledsoe counties. Because the park has some of the most spectacular scenery in the South, the U.S. Park Service has designated more than 12,000 acres as a Natural Area Wilderness http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20130821/NEWS/130829968
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