Oh, how I love this time of year in Tennessee – the fall foliage makes the whole state prettier than ever, football and hockey are in full swing and there are millions of visitors coming to experience it all for themselves! That’s good news for every Tennessean as tourism dollars are spent throughout the state, both in our big destination attractions as well as along our colorful backroads and scenic byways. Those dollars and sales tax revenues continue to provide resources for every community’s needs and future growth.
Here in Tourist Development, it’s already been a very busy season, with a major media tour of Civil War and other historic sites in both the Knoxville area and Northeast Tennessee, a Sustainable Tourism workshop in Knoxville, several Civil War Trail marker unveilings across the state and participation in the Southeast U.S.-Japan Conference in Nashville. Journalists also visited important Civil War sites and Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways locations along the Sunnyside Trail, the White Lightning Trail, the Top Secret Trail and the Rocky Top Trail.
November’s calendar is every bit as full and exciting, including a five day media tour of Southeast and Middle Tennessee’s Civil War and Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways sites and the final Memphis Sustainable Tourism workshop to be held on November 30th at the Marriott Memphis Downtown.
In addition, the greatly anticipated Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration will launch on November 12th and 13th with the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission’s first Signature Event. After the press release was sent last week, we have already received inquiries from as far away as Florida and Michigan! This will be history in the making, something you and your family will certainly not want to miss.
Free and open to the public, the event will take place at several Nashville locations including the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), the War Memorial Building, the Tennessee State Museum and the Bicentennial Mall. It will begin at TPAC with remarks from Governor Bredesen and include wonderful music by the world renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, Nashville Children's Choir, remarks by country superstar Trace Adkins, recognition of our Civil War Trails communities and presentations from learned Civil War scholars. A Living History event, complete with re-enactors and cannon demonstrations, will take place at the Bicentennial Mall, perfect for introducing children to this important historic time.
The Signature Event is just the beginning of a five-year statewide commemoration, focusing on the Civil War’s impact on Tennessee and Tennessee’s significant role in the Civil War. For more information, go to http://www.tnvacation.com/civil-war/events/.
Also in November, we will hold the grand re-opening and ribbon cutting of our I-65 Robertson Co. Welcome Center. Many thanks to the Department of Transportation for building such a beautiful new log cabin center, designed to provide a warm welcome to our visitors. If you are in the area, please join us at 1 p.m. CDT on Thursday November 4th for this important celebration.
The Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program continues to unfold with the Walking Tall Trail launching on Dec. 1st at Graceland. Originating from Memphis and traveling into Southwest Tennessee, this Trail gets its inspiring name from the legendary Sheriff Buford Pusser whose home is now a fascinating house museum in Adamsville. We appreciate all the help that Dwana Pusser, daughter of Sheriff Buford Pusser, has given us in making this Trail possible. This joint marketing initiative with TDOT’s Scenic Byways continues to garner wonderful media and tourist attention.
At this time of year, I’m always reminded of the importance of counting my blessings. Certainly my faith and my family are at the top of that list, but right behind that is my gratitude for being a part of such a terrific tourism industry in Tennessee. You all make this incredibly beautiful state such a natural decision for people looking for their best vacation ever. Thank you for a job well done!
Enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
a message from Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker
Civil War Sesquicentennial Inaugural Event
The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s Inaugural Signature Event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War will take place Nov. 12 and 13 in Nashville. Tennessee’s tourism partners and friends have a unique opportunity to participate in this free, not-to-be-missed commemoration.
The theme of this historic milestone is “The Coming of the Civil War.” Governor Phil Bredesen will kick off the event at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Jackson Hall beginning at 10 a.m. CST on November 12.
"The sesquicentennial commemoration of the American Civil War is important to all Tennesseans,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “This inaugural event, which begins the five-year recognition from 2011-2015, will create conversation, stir interest, and help people develop a greater appreciation for history and acknowledge the role this war played in the lives of all Americans."
“We know the Civil War Sesquicentennial will focus the world’s attention on this pivotal time in our nation’s history. We expect thousands of visitors to make their way to Tennessee to learn about the state’s role in the war,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.
The Event will include living history, tours, an interpretation workshop, a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Nashville Children’s Choir and special appearance by country superstar Trace Adkins.
Tennessee is the only entire state designated by the U.S. Congress as a Civil War National Heritage area. The state’s history is one of tourism’s most important assets and the Inaugural Sesquicentennial Signature Event will set the tone for next five years of events.
Visit tncivilwar150.com for more information.
Grand Re-Opening of I-65 Robertson County Welcome Center
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Department of Transportation will host the official grand opening ceremonies of the I-65 Robertson County Welcome Center at 1 p.m. CDT on Nov. 4. This event marks the completion of the replacement Welcome Center.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely and Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker will be on hand to bring remarks and officially open the center with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Other state and local officials set to attend are Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley; Robertson County Circuit Court Clerk Lisa Cavender; Robertson County Commissioner Don Eden; Sumner County Commissioner Billy Geminden; and Sumner County Commissioner Bob Pospisil among others. Our tourism partners from Robertson, Sumner, Davidson and surrounding counties have been invited to attend and will also take part in the grand opening festivities. The White House Dulcimer Players will be on site to offer some great Tennessee music.
Designed as a log cabin and featuring 4,989 square feet, the facility combines the warmth of Tennessee with the modern advantage of new construction, including sustainable features such as geothermal heating and cooling and a solar array. The Welcome Center is located north of Nashville near the Kentucky state line at mile marker 121.
There are 14 Welcome Centers located primarily on interstate highway entrances to Tennessee. Tennessee’s Welcome Centers are constructed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and are operated by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Travel Writers Visit Knoxville, Middle East & Northeast Tennessee
October 19-24 turned out to be the perfect week to host travel writers in Knoxville and Northeast Tennessee. The weather was perfect, the fall foliage at its most brilliant and Tennessee’s tourism industry partners at their finest.
Seventeen journalists, representing publications including Go! Magazine (AAA Carolinas), Philadelphia Inquirer, USATODAY.com, Spirit, AAA Home & Away, and the Boston Globe, participated in the five-day familiarization trip.
Designed to showcase Tennessee’s Civil War Trails and the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, journalists visited key sites throughout the region including the historic homes of Knoxville, the Museum of Appalachia, the Lincoln Library and Museum, and Civil War Battlefield sites, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bay’s Mountain, the International Storytelling Center and much more. The FAM highlighted some of East Tennessee’s world-class culinary fare and showcased some show-stopping music at the Blueplate Special in Knoxville and Down Home in Johnson City. The region’s scenic beauty was evident everywhere.
The staff of Geiger and Associates facilitated the state-sponsored trip.
Coming up November 9-14 will be the Southeast and Middle Tennessee travel writer FAM, highlighting the Civil War and Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways of the region. More than 20 travel writers are expected to participate.
Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways
Walking Tall Trail to Launch
The Walking Tall Trail will launch December 1 from Graceland in Memphis, the fifth trail of the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways to be launched.
Heading East out of Memphis, the Walking Tall Trail will take travelers to Civil War sites, prehistoric wonders, the historic Casey Jones Village, the home and museum of legendary lawman Sheriff Buford Pusser, and the quaint towns and local festivals that line the trail.
West Tennessee is home to many larger than life personalities, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Casey Jones, Herb Parsons, Alex Haley and of course the legendary Sheriff Buford Pusser. Learning more about their stories while meandering through an interesting collection of charming small towns, eating at great Southern restaurants, enjoying beautiful lakes and rivers and historic churches will fill your days in beautiful Southwest Tennessee.
The Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways includes 16 self-guided driving trails throughout the state that incorporates all 95 counties and Tennessee's five National Scenic Byways. Four trails have previously been launched including Old Tennessee, Sunny Side, Nashville's Trace and White Lightning. For more information visit tntrailsandbyways.com.
Civil War Trails
Civil War Trails Markers Installed at State Capitol and Bicentennial Mall
Two Civil War Trails markers were installed at historic attractions in downtown Nashville on Oct. 27. The marker entitled "Two Governors, Two Governments" was placed at the State Capitol overlook and the marker entitled "Baseball and Civil War Nashville" was placed near the Civil War timeline at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
Dignitaries attending the installation of these markers included Tom Lightsey, assistant commissioner, TDTD, Acting State Architect Alan Robinson, Jim Hoobler and Dan Pomeroy from the Tennessee State Museum, David Carpenter, facility administrator, State Capitol.
Specifically the newly interpreted Civil War marker at the Capitol will play a significant historic role in the interpretation of the entire story of the Civil War to the citizens of Tennessee and to the nation as we approach the Sesquicentennial in 2011.
As the entire State of Tennessee has been designated by Congress as the only Civil War National Heritage Area, we would be remiss not to mark the importance of the State Capitol's role in this war. The Capitol tells stories of many historic moments during this war including:
- historic vote for secession took place within the Capitol
- Andrew Johnson, military Governor, served at the Capitol during federal occupation
- Capitol served as a fort during the war
- historic vote ending slavery took place at the Capitol to ratify the 13th amendment.
Lee Curtis, TDTD, talks with SCV members
at Hermitage event.
The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area has always noted the Tennessee State Capitol among the state's top historic resources.
Funds Donated for Trail Markers
On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the Randal McGavock Camp, SCV, presented Mr. Howard Kittell, director of the Hermitage, a check for $3,300. This funding helped pay for the three Civil War markers at the Hermitage that tell the story of the Hermitage during the Civil War and the land donated for the soldiers’ home built nearby the Hermitage.
Knoxville Sustainable Green Certification Workshop A Great Success - Memphis Slated For November 30
The Knoxville Sustainable Green Certification Workshop was held Oct. 13 at the Knoxville Convention Center. Commissioner Susan Whitaker was joined by Dr. Carroll Van West, TDEC Assistant Commissioner Andy Lyon and a number of special guests. This was the fourth of five workshops held across the state this year.
Don’t miss the Memphis Sustainable Green Certification workshop at the Downtown Memphis Marriottfrom 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. November 30.
Sustainable tourism offers the industry numerous benefits including a newfound respect for traditional ways of life, improved education, employment opportunities, economic growth, competitive advantage, and an authentic visitor experience. Nationally, requests from visitors for green attractions and destinations are increasing and as such Tennessee’s tour and travel industry must be ready to meet these requests.
The Green Certification workshops are being funded through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency P2 Source Reduction Grant. Learn how to implement green practices in your business, reduce energy and water usage, create a positive impact on your bottom line, and position Tennessee as a leader in sustainable travel.
The WestTennessee workshop will feature a national speaker in the hotel and lodging industry delivering fresh ideas to the hospitality industry.Ray Burger, known as the “Green Guru,” isfounder and president of Pineapple Hospitality, Inc.,hasover 30 years of experience in hospitality. His company was a leader in “green” years before green was popular. The company’s EcoRooms and EcoSuites Website certifies the greenest hotels and defines what it means to be a green hotel.
Industry partners are encouraged to attend the workshop and takepart in this important discussion as the industry’s input will guide the next steps Tennessee will take in developing a program which will compliment our partners’ existing green certification program. Register TODAY to attend a workshop in your area of the state and be a part of this important discussion on green certification for Tennessee’s tour and travel industry. Space is limited –RSVP today to Patricia Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com - 615-741-2159.
Tourism to Participate in 2010 Career Exploration Fair
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will join with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Metro Nashville Public Schools for the 2010 Career Exploration Fair.
Mayor Karl Dean and the CEO Champions will participate in a news conference and Fair walkthrough as nearly 5000 Metro Nashville Public School freshmen begin their path to college and career readiness in the Academies of Nashville. The news conference will be at 11:30 a.m. and the Fair walkthrough will begin at 11:45 a.m. The event will take place from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday, November 5 at the Nashville Convention Center.
Tourism will be showcasing all the careers that exist in this industry and making the 9th graders aware of the many opportunities they have with this dynamic career path. For more information contact Phyllis Qualls-Brooks at (615) 741-9057 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Section of State Route 840 Opens
Governor Phil Bredesen joined Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely, Senator Jack Johnson, Representative Glen Casada and other state and local officials in Williamson County Oct. 27 to mark the grand opening of a newly-completed section of State Route 840. The new section of highway extends State Route 840 from Highway 100 in Fairview to State Route 46 near Leiper’s Fork in Williamson County.
This new highway project is approximately six miles in length and begins just east of the Highway 100 interchange and extends to Bending Chestnut Road. It includes a new interchange at State Route 46. The state route is part of the final 18 miles of roadway that travels through southwest Williamson County, and will eventually connect to the existing section of SR 840 west of Interstate 65.
The final 12 miles of State Route 840 is currently under construction and will complete the 78-mile route that provides connections to I-40 east and west of Nashville, Interstates 65 and 24. The remaining section of State Route 840, which stretches from Bending Chestnut Road to State Route 6, is expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2012.
Facts & Trends
If you are an American leisure traveler who enjoys eating and drinking experiences when traveling, you are labeled a “culinary traveler.” According to a report released in 2007 by Mandala Research, culinary travelers make up one-fifth of the leisure travel population and “are more affluent, better educated and take part in more activities than the average leisure traveler.”
Tennessee is a hot spot for great eating adventures, with cuisine to speak to all of your senses.
Learn more about the state’s culinary offerings at tnvacation.com/food-wine/
Mobile Road Tools
According to the 2010 Portrait of American Travelers (SM) survey by the Ypartnership/Harrison Group:
Three out ten cell phones in use in the United States are now “smartphones,”
Approximately one in six of those with travel-related apps on their "smartphones" has booked air travel or lodging or viewed a virtual visitor guide,
Over one in ten active travelers has used their smartphone to download and redeem mobile coupons and one in twenty has downloaded an audio walking tour of a specific destination.
Employee of the Month
Sherry Stratton, manager at the I-65 Robertson County Welcome Center, is the Tennessee Welcome Centers Employee of the Month for October 2010. She has been with the Department of Tourist Development since 2002. As you may know, the I-65 Robertson Co. Welcome Center has been rebuilt, and Sherry and her staff had to endure almost a year of transition, moving to a temporary location, and now moving back to their new, permanent home on I-65 South.
"Sherry is a very caring and dedicated employee," said Janice Rich, Middle Tennessee Welcome Centers regional manager. "She is willing to do whatever it takes, whether it is working as manager, filling in on a maintenance shift or covering the information counter. Sherry has worked countless hours with great success in getting the new Welcome Center open." Thanks to Sherry for doing a great job!
The grand opening celebration for the new Welcome Center is at 1 p.m. Nov. 4. Tourism partners are all invited to attend.
Industry Applause is designed to highlight and recognize the achievements of our industry partners.
Johnson City Hosts Winning NAIA Event
Sports Travel magazine notified The Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau that the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championship was chosen as “Best Collegiate Multi-Sport or Multi-Discipline Event.”
The winning event was organized by the CVB, hosted by Milligan College and held at the ETSU Mini Dome on March 4-6, 2010. The NAIA track event brought 109 collegiate teams and more than 3,000 athletes, coaches and fans from all over the United States and Canada to the area.
Funding Awarded for Workshop
The Union County Community Foundation has been awarded funding for a Planning Workshop under the Appalachian Regional Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts Appalachian Gateway Community Initiative. The Gateway Initiative focuses on communities that are entry points to some of Appalachia’s most important natural assets: national and state parks and forests.
The Gateway Community Planning Workshop is an intensive two-day action-planning workshop to address a specific issue or opportunity for communities wishing to capitalize sustainably on their natural resources and cultural arts. The workshop will be led by The Conservation Fund and National Trust for Historic Preservation faculty, involving key local stakeholders and incorporating TCF and NTHP tourism curriculum.
Winners of the Sevier County Lodging Alliance
2010 “Stars of the Industry” awards.
East Tennessee Stars
The Sevier County Lodging Alliance hosted the 2010 “Stars of the Industry” awards luncheon at the Holiday Inn Pigeon Forge Convention Center. Guest speaker, Greg Atkins, executive director of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, emphasized the importance of industry members to improve their relationship with those elected to represent them in Nashville. “Ideally,” Atkins stated, “you should not only know their name, but they should know yours as well.”
Peabody Hotel Employees Show Off Their Skills
The Peabody Hotel was named first place winner at the annual Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association’s World Series of Housekeeping. The event was held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.
That's the Spirit
I-26 Unicoi Welcome Center in "Valley Beautiful" near the Tennessee/North Carolina border creatively displayed their Tennessee Tourism enthusiasm while celebrating the Fall season.
The Land Trust for Tennessee to Receive Preservation Honor Award
The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented its Preservation Honor Award to The Land Trust for Tennessee based in Nashville. The organization was one of 23 award winners honored by the National Trust during its 2010 National Preservation Conference. Created in 1999 to help ensure that Tennessee’s richly historic landscapes are not devoured by development, The Land Trust for Tennessee has become a leading force for preservation across the Volunteer State. In a single decade, The Land Trust has used easements and outright acquisition to protect over 52,000 acres, much of it richly dotted with historically significant sites. The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.
Quote(s) of the Month
“I beseech those whose piety will permit them reverently to petition, that they will pray for this union, and ask that He who buildeth up and pulleth down nations will, the mercy preserve and unite us. For a Nation divided against itself cannot stand.”
- Sam Houston
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
- G.K. Chesterton
Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You