Tennessee Department of Tourist Development presents April 2006 Rythm & News for industry partners of Tennessee
Articles Industry Trends Calendar Noteworthy Tips
A Message from
Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Colleagues and Industry Friends,

Spring is in the air. Can our tourism guests be far behind?  With all the firepower of our new advertising campaign, fueled by the additional one-time allocation of $4.5 million from Governor Phil Bredesen and the Tennessee General Assembly, we are expecting a spectacular year of tourism growth in 2006.

The second phase of this comprehensive plan, representing the bulk of the spending, was launched in February and is currently in place in 14 key driver markets.  The campaign highlights include larger, more frequent buys, thus generating more consumer inquiries that keep the industry expanding.

As well as this greatly expanded  television buy, the advertising campaign features radio throughout the state, print ads  in Southern Living, People, Oprah and Parents magazines, and marketing co-ops that include Better Homes, Country Living, Leisure South: Heritage, and AAA Home & Away.

Along with the continued success of the media campaign, there has been overwhelming response to our recently re-designed website www.TNvacation.com. According to our latest statistics, visitors to the site have increased 51% over the same period last year, with an average pageview of  7.75, a 37% increase.

In keeping with our efforts to enhance Tennessee’s strong brand identity, we are pleased to launch a new state tourism print logo. The new logo captures Tennessee’s primary selling points, our scenic beauty and our musical heritage.

The arrival of spring is always good news and it’s especially good news for Tennessee tourism with expectations for a wonderful vacation season in 2006.

Warm wishes for a successful season,

Susan Whitaker

Featured Articles:

Tourism Boosts State and Local Economies

Downtown Nashville

As one of Tennessee’s largest industries, tourism employs more than 175,000 individuals and generates $11.4 billion in direct revenues, making it one of the state’s key economic drivers.

As a direct result of the efforts of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the entire industry to promote the state as a prime vacation destination, Tennessee has moved from the 12th to the 11th most visited state among U.S. domestic visitors.

“Clearly the increased visitors to Tennessee are contributing to a growing Tennessee economy in terms of jobs, taxes, paychecks and the growth of support businesses of tourism firms,” said Steve Morse, director and economist of UT Tourism Institute at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

A continual pipeline of new attractions, convention business, festivals and special events  are positively affecting Tennessee tourism’s economic impact.

The economic impact of tourism is not limited to one geographic area, but has constantly been favorable throughout the entire state.  As one example, Pigeon Forge – a place where locals like to say “all business is tourism business” – has added numerous attractions, restaurants and unique shopping opportunities resulting in 2005’s record in gross receipts of $777.6 million, a 9% increase over 2004.  According to the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, the city generated $54.4 million in sales taxes for the state’s coffers and another $9.2 million respectively for Pigeon Forge and Sevier County.

Middle Tennessee was a major beneficiary last month as roughly 25,000 out of town visitors flocked to Nashville over the four days of the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament, spending about $12 million to $13 million in the city, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates. The city also played host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament and the men’s and women’s Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament, bringing in even more visitors.

The increased visitors to Tennessee and the positive impact on job growth and the tax base demonstrate the diversity the state has to offer for vacations and business meetings... This year the Memphis Cook Convention Center will reap the benefits of its $92 million expansion completed in 2003. Convention and tradeshow bookings are up 42.1% over last year, 27 scheduled for 2006 verses 19 in 2005, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau officials stated. The economic impact generated for Memphis and Shelby County from conventions at the MCCC in 2006 will total $63 million compared to $43.2 million in 2005, a 44.2% increase over 2005.

Economic impact is represented by measures of spending, employment, payroll, business receipts and tax revenues generated by traveler spending.   These are just a few examples of the success stories for tourism in Tennessee.

“The increased visitors to Tennessee and the positive impact on job growth and the tax base demonstrate the diversity the state has to offer for vacations and business meetings,” Morse said. “These new jobs generated will never be exported overseas.”

News Bureau Website Expanded with New Features

The new press.tnvacation.com

As a continuation of Tennessee tourism’s communications initiative, the department is proud to announce major enhancements to the News Bureau site located at www.tenntravelnews.com. For easy access, the site is now also conveniently located at http://press.tnvacation.com.

Of primary interest to our industry partners and the media, is the elimination of registration to the general site and more easily accessible navigation through stream-lined design features.

For our industry partners specifically, the News Bureau offers a quick and easy way to disseminate news by submitting all press releases and media advisories to the News Bureau. Once the release has been received, the TDTD News Bureau staff will review the release and service it to appropriate local, regional or national media. 

To aid our partners in effective communication protocol, www.tenntravelnews.com now features a public relations tutorial.  This provides detailed information on how to write a press release, techniques for conducting and providing interviews, how to pitch a story and the appropriate use of photos and video.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance the services we provide to our industry partners and the media, which will ultimately reach the millions of tourist coming to Tennessee,”  Commissioner Susan Whitaker said.  “Website updating and e-communications are part of the cutting-edge initiatives which continue to move Tennessee Tourism forward.”

Also for our partners, the site features all current news releases as well as an archive of releases that have been sent to and serviced through the bureau. A newly enhanced photo and video gallery is in place for both our industry partners and the media.

For the media, this site offers a library of story ideas from which to draw.  In addition, the Tennessee Press Room features an on-line media kit highlighting major releases about our State’s most appealing attractions and tourist opportunities.  In addition, press.tnvacation.com provides links to Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus throughout the State as well as quick facts about Tennessee and links to quotable experts on important topics ranging from history to music to outdoor adventures.

Created specifically to connect the media and members of Tennessee’s tourism industry, press.tnvacation.com provides unique, timely and interesting news content that features events, attractions and personalities from across the State of Tennessee.

New Tourism Logo Unveiled

The State’s new tourism logo

The Tennessee Department of Tourism is pleased to launch a new state tourism logo as part of its enhancements to current branding efforts. The logo reflects the state’s two unique selling points, music diversity and scenic beauty, and has a consistent feel with the state’s recently revamped website.

“The creative developed for our website, designed by Designsensory, really set the right tone for our state’s branding efforts,” states Jennifer Spence, assistant commissioner of marketing for the department. “Using that as a benchmark, it is critical that we had a strong logo that reflected that brand identity as well as representing the music and scenic components of our state.”

In developing the new logo, created by Chandler-Ehrlich Agency of Memphis, research was done that included reviewing logos for all 50 states, as well as top 50 cities. Readability, feel and prominence of the state name were the primary focus. In addition, the logo was sent to marketing representatives of key industry partners for review and unanimous approval.

CTTP Session Deemed Successful

The Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional (CTTP) program was recently held Feb. 28 – March 1 in Knoxville. Eighteen certifications were awarded to participants from across the state.

The program is sponsored by the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable and taught by the Tourism Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. During the course, participants are taught an overview of Tennessee tourism along with marketing principles, opportunities for Agri-Tourism initiatives, festivals and fairs, hotel operations and revenue management, food and tourism and a chance for networking with other tourism professionals from across the state. 

Many of those who participated are employees from various chambers of commerce throughout the state, which provided great opportunities to integrate tourism and economic development ideas together, officials said.

The department salutes all of the participants who completed the course in an effort to enhance their professional knowledge of the Tennessee tourism industry.

Special congratulations are in order to Tennessee Department of Tourism Development employees Marty Marbry and Derrick Smith, who also successfully completed the program.

Special recognition and presentation of the certificates will take place this September during the Tennessee Tourism Governor’s Conference in Knoxville.

For more information on the CTTP program, visit www.tntourismroundtable.com.

Industry Applause

Graceland, Memphis

Graceland Mansion Designated National Historic Landmark

United States Interior Secretary Gale Norton joined Priscilla Presley recently to announce the designation of Elvis’s Graceland as a National Historic Landmark, the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties. Fewer than 2,500 historic sites carry the title of National Historic Landmark.


Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events

Six Tennessee events were recently selected for the Southeast Tourism Society’s list of Top 20 Events for the second quarter of 2006. Tennessee events taking second quarter honors include:
Mule Day, March 30-April 2, Columbia
Rivers & Spires Festival, Inc., April 20-22, Clarksville
Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival, April 28-29 & May 5-6, Townsend
Memphis in May International Festival, May 5-27, Memphis
Native American Dance Theatre, June 6, Nashville
Dickson County Fiddlers Contest, June 10, Dickson

Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association Wins Top Honors

Congratulations to the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association that recently received two gold ADDY Awards from the American Advertising Federation (Tri-Cities Metro). Top honors were given for Tales & Trails: Americas First Frontier in the categories of Interactive Media Online and Mixed Media Campaign. The entry will move on to compete with the best advertising from five deep south states.

Kingsport Chamber Names John A. Scott as Interim Executive Director

The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce named longtime Kingsport volunteer and retired Eastman executive John A. Scott as the interim executive director of the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau (KCVB).  "John's volunteer history with the Kingsport Chamber and other community organizations… make him an excellent choice to help lead our tourism program.  We're very fortunate to have someone with his business experience and passion for tourism serve in this role," said Steve Swinney, KCVB council chair and chair of the KCVB executive director search committee.

Governor’s Conference

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

Host Hotels:
Holiday Inn Select-525 Henley Street-Knoxville, TN 37902 
Hilton Knoxville- 501 Church Street-Knoxville, TN 37902

More information will be included in the May newsletter!
For details contact TTR at (423) 648-2121

Tourism-Caring for America 2006

The Mississippi Gulf Coast was the site of the 2006 Tourism-Caring for America cleanup project March 16-19.  This year’s event included two full days of work at various tourism-related sites that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Several Gaylord Opryland Resort staff members as well as The Department of Tourism’s Lee Curtis participated in the event.

Nicky Reynolds Departure

Nicky Reynolds our East Tennessee Marketing and Public Relations Manager has accepted a position with the Oak Ridge Convention & Visitor's Bureau. Her last day with tourism was Friday, March 24. She leaves with our best wishes.

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