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

Hello Tourism Colleagues,

We're pleased to report that our expanded effort to 'get the word out' about Tennessee's great tourism destinations is working well. The web site, tnvacation.com, continues to gain momentum as we update and improve the site daily. Total visits to the site have seen a 41% increase over the same period last year with a 35% increase in page views. Of note was the overwhelming response to our web site during the month of May when traffic, driven by the monumental media response to the Dolly and Elvis commercial, reached an all-time high of 355,586 total visits with 2,805,593 total page views.

According to a 2005 Internet report from the Travel Industry Association (TIA), the number of online travelers who actually use the Internet for travel planning has grown rapidly in the past year. A majority, 78% of online travelers, say they consulted the Internet to get travel and destination information in 2005, the number is up from 65% in 2004. This translates to 79 million online travel planners, or 37% of the U.S. adult population. With the growth of the Internet for online travel planning, it is more important than ever to develop a dynamic web site.

Today, we are taking our web site and vacation guide services to a new level by providing our official 2006 Tennessee Vacation Guide as an electronic guide. The e-Guide is an exact duplicate of our printed vacation guide and lists all the sites and attractions in the various regions throughout the state. In addition to easy access for destinations and the development of specific itineraries, the e-Guide provides quick and user-friendly access for web users and live links to all URL’s listed in the guide; more than 1800 live links. Go to e-Guide.

Our news bureau is aggressively identifying opportunities to the industry and sharing detailed information about the services being offered. For the month of May, more than 423 articles featured news about Tennessee tourism in the regional, state, national and international media. The total circulation impact of this print and web media was 66,523,212.

We are always searching for the latest trends in marketing and advertising so that we keep Tennessee on the cutting edge in promoting our great state. Our goal is to continue to expand our services in every possible way in order to increase interstate and intrastate tourism; working together we can set the stage to accomplish great things.


Susan Whitaker


Featured Articles:

The Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams, Speaks at Governor’s Conference

Roy Williams

Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, serves as the keynote speaker at this year’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism, September 20-22 in Knoxville. Williams' greatest claim to fame is his ads book trilogy The Wizard of Ads, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads and Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads, all best sellers on various book reviews, including the New York Times.

Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker says, “I am delighted to have Roy Williams, one of the most sought-after speakers in advertising, participate in our Tennessee Governor’s Conference. His insights will be invaluable for all of us seeking to better market our destinations. He is definitely a must-see!”

Williams will be doing several sessions on Thursday including an afternoon workshop.

I am delighted to have Roy Williams, one of the most sought-after speakers in advertising, participate in our Tennessee Governor’s Conference. His insights will be invaluable for all of us seeking to better market our destinations. He is definitely a must-see! He specializes in strategic advertising, and makes use of a broad range of sources and illustrations, ranging from Dr. Seuss to Andrew Jackson to Coco Chanel.

Williams has recently presented at the South Carolina Conference on Tourism and will be the featured speaker at the West Virginia Conference this Fall. He is one of the featured speakers at ESTO (Educational Seminars for Tourism Organizations), a forum sponsored by TIA this summer, as well as numerous other organizations, agencies, national and international meetings and conferences. The responses to his presentations have been excellent.

The 2006 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held in Knoxville, September 20-22 at the Knoxville Convention Center. Host hotels are the Holiday Inn Select (888) 465-4329 and the Hilton Knoxville, one block from the convention center (865) 523-2300. For conference information, go to the industry partners page on the Tennessee Tourism web site at www.tnvacation.com or www.tntourismroundtable.com for registration information.

Interstate System Turns 50

Interstate Marker at I-40 in Smith County

Standing boldly at the Smith County I-40 Welcome Center is the “Highway at 50” marker, recognizing the 50th anniversary of the United States Interstate Highway System. Events recognizing the anniversary were held in May and June, and others will be held through the end of the year.

Former Tennessee Senator Albert Gore, Sr. was the author and lead sponsor of the bill in the U.S. Senate. June 29, 2006, marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Federal Highway Act of 1956, by President Dwight Eisenhower.

The interstate system is a major part of the travel and tourism industry, providing convenient and safe access to various destinations. Tennessee’s Welcome Centers, located at 13 interstate locations, offer various conveniences for travelers, including hostesses who provide information on destinations, events, directions and other comforts.

An exhibit featuring the history of the Tennessee Interstate System and Senator Gore, Sr.’s contributions to the creation of America’s Interstate System is on display at the Tennessee State Museum through September 1, 2006. The museum is located in the lower level of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center/James K. Polk building at 505 Deaderick Street, in Nashville, for information call (800) 407-4324. The Smith County Welcome Center is one of the most visited centers in the state with nearly one million visitors in 2005.

Dave Jones Joins Tourism Team

David "Dave" Jones has been named East Tennessee Regional Manager. Dave comes to the department with more than 13 years of advertising and marketing experience and is highly skilled in promotions and event management, writing, and producing and voice over work. Dave previously served as marketing director for the Governor's Palace Theatre in Sevierville.

Dave has held a variety of positions in the communications arena including sales manager, development and promotions manager. He also has served as an account executive in radio and director of music and media for a church. He holds the expert level ranking in customer relationship management.

Dave earned his B. S. degree in radio/tv/film from the University of Texas, Austin and attended Baylor University with an emphasis in music education. Dave is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army.

Dave’s office is located in Knoxville in the State Office Building on 10215 Technology Drive, Suite 203, Knoxville, TN 37932. He may be reached by email at dave.jones@state.tn.us or by phone at (865) 777-4685.

Dave replaces Nicky Reynolds who accepted a position with the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Partnership Marketing Program and Tourism Advertising Opportunities

Information on the 2006-2007 Partnership Marketing Program has been e-mailed to convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce and city and county governments. Should you have questions about this program, please contact Dianne Murray at (615) 741-9000 or e-mail her at dianne.murray@state.tn.us. Guidelines are also located at www.tnvacation.com/industry/ The deadline for receiving applications is July 31, 2006.

Tourism Advertising Incentive
The early bird incentive deadline for 2007 Tennessee Vacation Guide advertising is fast approaching. The Vacation Guide is the official fulfillment piece sent to consumers in response to the state's marketing, advertising and public relation's efforts. Contact Mary Steadman at Miles Media about the opportunities and benefits of advertising in Tennessee's 2007 Guide. E-mail Mary Steadman at mesteadman.@aol or call (423) 323-4330. Early bird deadline: July 22.

Tennessee Department Of Tourism Sponsors Photo Contest

Share your unique vision of Tennessee’s scenic adventures and family fun through a state sponsored photo contest.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is sponsoring the contest to spark tourists to capture the beauty of the state. One grand prize winner will be selected by a panel of expert judges and a winner will be chosen for each of the following categories: Scenic Tennessee, Tennessee Adventure, Family Fun and Historic Tennessee.

The grand prize winner and the four category winners will have their winning photographs included in the Official 2007 Tennessee Vacation Guide. Honorable mention winners will also be selected for the same four categories and may be included in the upcoming vacation guide as space permits. All winning photographs will be subject to display at TNvacation.com.

For information on additional prizes and official rules, visit TNvacation.com.

Industry Applause

Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo recently celebrated its 100th birthday with a series of special events over Memorial Day Weekend. Founded in 1906, the zoo resides on 70 acres in Overton Park and has completed more than $77 million in renovations and expansions since the early 1990’s. Memphis is home to some of Tennessee’s great treasures, including Ya Ya and Le Le, the famous giant pandas.


Topping the charts for the greatest service in the world, Blackberry Farm was recently rated by Travel + Leisure readers in the magazine's annual reader's poll as the best hotel around the globe for service.

Proprietor Sam Beall attributes the honor to the genuine southern hospitality of the local staff. "… The combination of having simply great people on staff and working hard to exceed guest expectations has made all the difference in the level of authentic service we provide our guests," says Beall.

Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm's ranking is only the second time in history that an American property has held the top position. "It is just beautiful to see France, South Africa, Bali, India, Bangkok and Walland, Tenn. in the same survey,” Beall comments.

Travel + Leisure conducts its annual Reader's Poll that ranks properties all over the world in a variety of categories including service, cuisine, rooms, location and value. This is Travel + Leisure's 11th year to conduct the survey.


Tennessee landed 15 of the Top 20 Events on the Southeast Tourism Society’s third quarter list of Top 20 Events. A complete listing follows.

National Championship Fiddlers Jamboree and Craft Festival - June 30 - July 1
Family oriented fun and entertainment with old hand-made crafts found only in the Appalachian area of the U.S., Smithville, TN (615) 597-8500, www.dekalbtn.com

Jonesborough Days - July 1 - 2
A living historic town - Jonesborough,Tennessee's oldest town and the storytelling capital of the world, offering family fun and events. Jonesborough, TN (423) 753-1010, www.jonesboroughtn.org

Annual Patriot Festival - July 4
Outstanding entertainment, free admission, fun for the entire family. Pigeon Forge, TN (800) 251-9100, www.mypigeonforge.com or inquire@mypigeonforge.com

Music City Independence Day Concert Spectacular - July 4
An evening of free entertainment, fun and fireworks. Nashville, TN (800) 657-6910, www.visitmusiccity.com

Fun Fest - July 14 - 22
Visitors come for the Crazy 8's 8-K run, the Tour de Possum Creek bike rides, the concerts and the hot air balloon launches. Kingsport, TN (423) 392-8800, www.funfest.net

For the Good Times: The Ray Price Story - Aug. 3, 2006 - June 2007
A tribute to American music architect Ray Price with exhibit running through June 2007. Nashville, TN (615) 416-2001 www.countrymusichalloffame.com or lthiels@countrymusichalloffame.com

4th Annual Spring Time in the Smokies - Aug. 12 - 14
A gathering of top bluegrass musicians share one stage for two days of concerts, offered free of charge, in Patriot Park. Pigeon Forge, TN (800) 251-9100, www.mypigeonforge.com or inquire@mypigeonforge.com

7th Annual Celebrate Freedom - Aug. 12 - 19
An eight-day salute to America's veterans, patriots and heroes with a musical, theatrical journey through America's military history. Pigeon Forge, TN, (800) 251-9100, www.mypigeonforge.com or

Wilson County Fair - Aug. 18 - 26
Nine days of fun for the entire family includes entertainment, rides, pageants, agricultural exhibits and much more. Lebanon, TN (615) 443-2626, www.wilsoncountyfair.net or wilsoncountyfair@wilsoncounty.com

68th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration - Aug. 23 - Sept. 2
The oldest continually-running event in the state. Champions in 29 different divisions will be crowned. Also featured: a trade fair, stable decorating, BBQ cookout and much more. Shelbyville, TN (931) 684-5915, www.twhnc.com or twhnc@twhnc.com

Music City Jazz, Blues & Heritage Festival - Sept. 2 - 3
Outstanding national and international talent will take the stage, along with some of Nashville 's finest local talent. Nashville, TN (800) 657-6910 www.visitmusiccity.com or nashcvb@musiccityusa.com

BoomsDay - Sept. 3
Known as the nation's largest Labor Day fireworks show. Enjoy live music, all American food, and the "Goody's Family Fun Zone. Knoxville, TN (800) 727-8045, www.knoxville.org or tourism@knoxville.org

Pellissippi State Hot Air Balloon Festival - Sept. 22 - 23
This one of a kind event features more than 20 high flying hot air balloons, a balloon "glow", tethered balloon rides, arts and crafts and entertainment by local and national talent. Knoxville, TN (865) 694-6528, www.pstcc.edu or pmyers@pstcc.edu

25th Annual Mt. Juliet Pow Wow/Don Yahola Memorial - Sept. 23 - 24
Experience the beauty and passion of an American Indian Pow Wow - a time of gathering and celebrating with friends and family. Mt. Juliet, TN (615) 443-1537 cindy.yahola@ihs.gov

10th Annual Pigeon Forge Harvest Festival - Sept. 29 - Oct. 31
A celebration of the harvest season, complete with colorful decorations and craft festivals. Pigeon Forge, TN (800) 251-9100, www.mypigeonforge.com or inquire@mypigeonforge.com


Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You

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