a message from Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett

Dear partners,

Records. They are great aren’t they?

There is an authenticity to them. They mean something. They signify an accomplishment, the result of planning, executing and delivering a quality product.

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Tennessee Travel News

Governor Announces Record-Breaking Economic Impact Numbers for Tennessee Tourism

Governor Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced Aug. 18 during a special event at the Ryman Auditorium tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached $17.7 billion in 2014, up 6.3 percent, and an all-time high for the state.

Tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 152,900, an increase of 2.8 ...

Read more

Outstanding Educational Seminars To Be Offered at Governor’s Conference

One of the great features of the annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism is the variety of outstanding educational and professional development seminars that are offered.

Kicking off the conference Oct. 7 is the Super Seminar entitled “The Challenge of Change” featuring Brian London, president and CEO ...

Read more

TDTD Receives Prestigious Mercury Award For “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” Campaign

The National Council of State Tourism Directors this week presented the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development with the prestigious Mercury Award at the U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations held in Portland, Ore. “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” received the Judge’s Choice Award as the best ...

Read more

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New I-55 Memphis Welcome Center

The Tennessee Departments of Transportation and Tourist Development held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new I-55 Memphis Welcome Center Aug. 28. Commissioner John Schroer, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton and Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Kevin ...

Read more

TN Hosting AAA and TUI Sales FAMS

As a reminder, TDTD will be present and taking appointments at the annual Student Youth Travel Association Conference Aug. 28-Sept. 1 in Branson, Missouri. Another large Tennessee delegation will hold meetings with key student and youth tour operators to offer various performance, educational, and experiential opportunities throughout the state.

Read more

Retire Tennessee Annual Meeting, a Success

Representatives from each of the 19 Retire Tennessee communities joined together in Cookeville Aug. 18 for the program’s annual meeting. Commissioner Triplett served as guest speaker along with TDTD regional managers Dave Jones and Marty Marbry. Ramay Winchester, director of the program, led the meeting and shared results, testimonials, and ...

Read more

2016 Vacation Guide Marketing Opportunity Available Now

The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide continues to be the top fulfillment piece TDTD uses to send out to visitors requesting information about Tennessee. In 2014, the state of Tennessee had a great year reprinting 75,000 guides to fulfill demand, and reporting record visitation to Tennessee with more than 100 million ...

Read more

Dear partners,

Records. They are great aren’t they?

There is an authenticity to them. They mean something. They signify an accomplishment, the result of planning, executing and delivering a quality product.

I am old enough to remember them, holding them in my hands, reading the liner notes.

Records. We are all about it in Tennessee, right? Making records.

Well, take a minute and smile. We’ve made a record. A few actually. Together. And we are heading up the charts.

The economic impact of combined domestic and global travel in Tennessee last year was $17.7 billion. A record.

We welcomed 101.3 million visitors. A record.

For the ninth consecutive year we increased in visitor travel and spending.

These records are important. And everyone in our industry played a role.

Thank you.

Looking ahead, we are heading into one of our busiest seasons in Tennessee. Travel and visitation in some places slow or shut down after Labor Day. We keep rolling through September and into fall with so much to offer.

Labor Day weekend festivals and events occur all over the state but the biggest is the Boomsday Festival in Knoxville. The largest Labor Day weekend fireworks display in the nation caps off a 28-year run Sunday, Sept. 6. Rain or shine, officials encourage visitors to “BE HERE as we say farewell with a BANG!”

We take our football seriously in Tennessee and one of the biggest rivalries in the game meet on neutral grounds Sept. 10-12 in Memphis when the Tennessee State University and Jackson State square off in the Southern Heritage Classic at the Liberty Bowl. A weekend of festivities surrounds the game including, since we can work music into just about anything in our state, a concert by the classy Gladys Knight at the classy Orpheum Theatre.

Kicking off its schedule Aug. 29, festivities at the Tennessee Soybean Festival in Martin run through Sept. 13 with pageants, food, fun and music on the agenda.

Sept. 12 is the International Cowpea Festival and Cookoff. Known by many names including black-eyed peas, Charleston once was considered by some as the “Cowpea Capital of the World.” I tell you, I truly learn something new every day. This festival, one of the approximately 800 we have across the state each year, is a perfect example of a community coming together to find how it is unique and being creative to attract visitors.

That same day across the state in Jackson folks are encouraged to head to Casey Jones Village for the Plectral Society’s Old-Time Music Festival -- dedicated to the preservation of old-time string music.

While we are on preservation and promotion of a musical heritage, September 18-20 brings the Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol – the Birthplace of Country Music. AmericanaFest is happening September 15-20 in Music City. Both of these festivals have turned into two of the most popular in the country for fans and artists alike.

Want food with your music? Stop by the Music City Food + Wine Festival Sept. 19-20 in downtown Nashville. Some of the biggest chefs in the country bring their culinary talents to Music City for panel discussions, cooking demos, highlighted by more than 60 vendors and capped off with live music by Kings of Leon.

More of a breakfast person? Check out BreakFAST Sept. 26 at the Water Tower Pavilion in Memphis’ Broad Avenue Arts District. Cooking competitions and music, we here in Tennessee can find all kinds of ways to work food and music into a day.

The month closes in Henry County at the Eye-Full-of-Paris Weekend, a three-day celebration of the arts Sept. 25-27.

There always is so much going on in Tennessee we cannot even mention it all. Get out and enjoy.

See you on the road.

Kevin Triplett

Gov. Haslam shares economic impact numbers from the stage of Ryman Auditorium

Featured Article 

Governor Announces Record-Breaking Economic Impact Numbers for Tennessee Tourism

Governor Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced Aug. 18 during a special event at the Ryman Auditorium tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached $17.7 billion in 2014, up 6.3 percent, and an all-time high for the state.

Tourism-generated jobs for Tennesseans reached 152,900, an increase of 2.8 percent. State and local sales tax revenue for the industry topped $1.5 billion, up 7 percent over 2013, and the ninth consecutive year tourism topped $1 billion, according to the latest statistics from the 2014 Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee as reported by U.S. Travel Association.

For the first time in history, travel to Tennessee topped 100 million, achieving 101.3 million person stays, a 5.1 percent increase over 2013, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates, which specializes in custom marketing research for the travel and tourism industry. International travel increased 8.4 percent, reaching $576.5 million in economic impact. All 95 counties in Tennessee had more than $1 million in direct travel expenditures, 19 counties saw more than $100 million, and three counties, Davidson, Shelby and Sevier, had more than $1 billion in economic impact. Knox and Hamilton Counties round out the Top 5 with nearly $1 billion in economic impact. Tennessee is ranked in the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel.

“This increase in tourism across the board is a result of the strategic work of Tourist Development, the Tourism Committee, and the entire tourism and hospitality industry,” Haslam said. “We want Tennessee to be a place people from all over the world want to visit. The data shows that’s happening, and more jobs and $1.5 billion in sales tax revenue is good news for every Tennessean.”

Tennessee’s customer satisfaction landed at an impressive 8.5 out of 10. The satisfaction scores are greater than those of the average U.S. destination.

“Tourists are drawn to Tennessee for our world-renown music, outstanding attractions, stunning scenic beauty,” Triplett said. “But, at the end of the day, people keep coming to Tennessee for our authenticity and exceptional, Southern hospitality. That is the ‘made in Tennessee’ brand delivered to our visitors every day by our communities and partners.”

The Tennessee Tourism Committee, appointed in 2011 by Gov. Bill Haslam, is made up of tourism leaders in both the public and private sectors. TTC is chaired by Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., and co-chaired by Jack Soden, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and Sande Weiss, president of Music Road Resort.

To view economic impact numbers by county, go to: http://bit.ly/EconImpactTNCo2014

To view additional images from the press event, go to: http://bit.ly/EconImpactPressConfImages_Aug2015

Outstanding Educational Seminars To Be Offered at Governor’s Conference

One of the great features of the annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism is the variety of outstanding educational and professional development seminars that are offered.

Kicking off the conference Oct. 7 is the Super Seminar entitled “The Challenge of Change” featuring Brian London, president and CEO of Travel Industry Indicators and the executive director of the SE States Chapter of the Travel & Tourism Research Association. Over the last several years, a host of external factors have forced travel marketers to rethink basic business strategies in both the short and long term.  The businesses and organizations that have prospered during this time are those that have been able to understand the changes and develop new strategies that capitalized on those changes. In this seminar, attendees will learn about those external change factors, hear case studies of hospitality and travel industry related organizations that were successful in adapting to those changes, and learn how to develop action plans to shift resources and gain market share.

A full day of educational seminars will take place Oct. 8. Seminars offered will include international travel to Tennessee, social media for hospitality and tourism businesses, workforce development, preserving and utilizing historic assets for tourism, working with travel writers, technology trends in the lodging and restaurant industries, and digital media campaigns that work.

“Taming the Email Beast: Managing the Mess of Email & Info Overload” with well-known expert Randy Dean will provide professionals with a proven system for managing email accounts, with strategies for keeping the inbox efficient and under control. 

For more information on the educational and professional development seminars that will be offered at this year’s conference, schedule, speakers, registration, lodging, and the annual TnHTPAC Golf Tournament, visit www.tnhta.net and click on “2015 TN Governor’s Conference.”

The Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism is produced by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

TDTD team accepts Mercury Award at ESTO

TDTD Receives Prestigious Mercury Award For “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” Campaign

The National Council of State Tourism Directors this week presented the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development with the prestigious Mercury Award at the U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations held in Portland, Ore. “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” received the Judge’s Choice Award as the best state tourism advertising campaign of the past year. The Mercury Awards recognize member organizations for excellence and creative accomplishment in state destination marketing and promotion; and inspire, through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative and exciting marketing and promotional programs.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by our peers for the hard work and creativity of our team and our marketing partners,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “As rewarding as the recognition is, so are the results. The ‘Made in Tennessee’ campaign played an integral part in Tennessee becoming a top ten destination, attracting more than 100 million visitors and generating more than $17.7 billion for the state economy.”

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp was similarly recognized at ESTO with a Destiny Award in the Special Projects category for its documentary, “For the Love of Music.”  The Destiny Awards are presented annually to destination marketing organizations at the local and regional levels by the Destinations Council, an organization representing nearly 400 urban, region and local U.S. Travel Association member destination marketing organizations.

ESTO is the largest annual tourism meeting and is attended by both state tourism offices and Convention and Visitors Bureaus. The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 14.9 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
Visit www.ustravel.org.

I-55 Welcome Center Groundbreaking in Memphis

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New I-55 Memphis Welcome Center

The Tennessee Departments of Transportation and Tourist Development held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new I-55 Memphis Welcome Center Aug. 28. Commissioner John Schroer, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton and Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Kevin Kane provided remarks.

“Our welcome centers give us a wonderful opportunity to make a great first impression on the millions of people who choose Tennessee as their travel destination,” said Commissioner Schroer. “This beautiful facility will not only serve the needs of our guests, but it will also provide a glimpse of all this state has to offer.”

The new 1-55 Welcome Center will feature a modern, energy-efficient design, drawing on the Memphis brand strategy in welcoming visitors to West Tennessee.  Tennessee currently has 14 Welcome Centers, all constructed by TDOT and operated by Tourist Development.

“The I-55 Shelby County Welcome Center is an important, high-traffic entrance into our state,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Statewide, our centers host more than 12 million visitors and that number increases with I-55, number 15, coming on line. Our welcome centers and the team members who run them provide great Southern hospitality and world-class service. They are an example of the value Tennessee places on its guests, which provide a $17.7 billion economic engine for the state.”

The I-55 Center will be located at 3910 Interstate 55, Mile Marker 3.10 north bound on the Tennessee line, and is expected to open to the public in the fall of 2016.

Interstate 55 is approximately 964 miles that starts in Illinois and runs through Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It is the only interstate that crosses the Mississippi River twice –in Memphis and St. Louis, Missouri.

Tourism is one of Tennessee’s largest industries, with an economic impact of $17.7 billion, a 6.3 percent increase over the previous year and an all-time high for the state.

 

TUI Suisse FAM Tour to Visit Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School

TN Hosting AAA and TUI Sales FAMS

As a reminder, TDTD will be present and taking appointments at the annual Student Youth Travel Association Conference Aug. 28-Sept. 1 in Branson, Missouri. Another large Tennessee delegation will hold meetings with key student and youth tour operators to offer various performance, educational, and experiential opportunities throughout the state. 

The department will co-host the annual AAA Taste of Tennessee FAM tour Sept. 14 – 20 in conjunction with Nashville, Chattanooga and Pigeon Forge. This annual FAM tour allows Tennessee to showcase several cities to key auto counselors from the AAA and CAA organizations in the U.S. and parts of Canada. 

Travel agents from TUI Travel, in Switzerland will visit Tennessee during the TUI Suisse FAM Sept. 26-29 through Memphis, Brownsville, Jackson, Nashville, Lynchburg and Sevierville. Thanks to all the hosts for your participation and support. More details will be confirmed soon.  

Commissioner Triplett Speaks to Retire Tennessee Communities

Retire Tennessee Annual Meeting, a Success

Representatives from each of the 19 Retire Tennessee communities joined together in Cookeville Aug. 18 for the program’s annual meeting. Commissioner Triplett served as guest speaker along with TDTD regional managers Dave Jones and Marty Marbry. Ramay Winchester, director of the program, led the meeting and shared results, testimonials, and successes from the past year along with strategic plans for the new year. Community representatives were also given the opportunity to report, network and plan for the coming year. For more information about the Retire Tennessee program, contact Ramay Winchester at Ramay.W.Winchester@tn.gov.

Sign up now for the official 2016 Vacation Guide

2016 Vacation Guide Marketing Opportunity Available Now

The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide continues to be the top fulfillment piece TDTD uses to send out to visitors requesting information about Tennessee. In 2014, the state of Tennessee had a great year reprinting 75,000 guides to fulfill demand, and reporting record visitation to Tennessee with more than 100 million person stays.

Advertising sales are now underway, so don’t miss this great chance to promote your destination in the 2016 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide. The deadline is Sept. 9.

Published by longtime partner, Miles, the guide will once again feature large, captivating photography and powerful, experiential copy to showcase Tennessee’s outstanding tourism offerings. Content will also highlight Tennessee’s music legacy, the state’s outdoor adventure, off-the-beaten-path travel excursions, and farm-to-table experiences. 

The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide has broadened the impact to reach more travelers. The guide will once again be published as an e-guide and interactive iPad app offering additional content and rich media for readers  and additional exposure for advertisers.

Miles is constantly offering ways to maximize your dollars and exposure including bonuses and added value offerings, rich media in the iPad app and the Tennessee Welcome Center displays.

Reach out to destination specialists for Miles: 
Mary Steadman (Upper Cumberland and East Tennessee)at 423-956-4330, Mary.Steadman@MilesPartnership.com
or Abbie Gristy (Middle and West Tennessee) at 731-298-1003, Abbie.Gristy@MilesPartnership.com.

Click here for a PDF of the complete 2016 Tennessee Vacation Guide Media Kit.

UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION: Each year, we also conduct an extensive data collection process to ensure we publish the most accurate business information possible in the vacation guide. Representatives from Miles will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks to update your information and arrange for your free listing in the 2016 guide. As always, you can also log in to our data extranet anytime to access and update your business partner profile page at www.tnvacation.com/vendor.  

Tricks from TripAdvisor to Turbocharge Your E-Mail Marketing

TripAdvisor is one of the industry’s leading e-mail marketers, sending millions of e-mails every day.

“As the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor puts together pieces of advice and opinions from millions of travelers to facilitate, improve, and nurture everyone’s inner wanderer,” writes Joe Rosenthal of B2C Community, who notes a number of commonly-used techniques that make TripAdvisor a winner.

When it comes to subject lines, Rosenthal notes three tricks that help TripAdvisor boost open rates and drive sales:

  • Emojis help your message stand apart from the crowd, especially on mobile devices, where they appear in color. In fact, subject lines with emojis have an open rate that is six percent higher than those without.
  • Customize subject lines using the recipient’s name. It’s a great way to denote the information is the e-mail has been prepared especially for him or her.
  • Be unconventional. The subject line, “Wow. Just wow.” piques recipients’ interests and turns the passive viewer into an active reader. Rosenthal also reports President Obama’s top-fundraising e-mail of the 2012 campaign was one bearing the one-word subject line: “Hey.”

As far as e-mail content is concerned, TripAdvisor has increased click-through rates by delivering visually stunning imagery accompanied by headlines in the form of questions and enticing calls to action. For example, a story bearing the headline, “What the World’s New Number 1 Destination?” accompanied with a button labeled “Discover the Winner,” is too good for more readers to resist.

“In a marketing landscape where the average consumer is told to, ‘Click Here!’ or ‘Find Out More!’ hundreds of times daily, TripAdvisor takes a refreshing approach to encouraging clicks, writes Rosenthal. “Prompts like, ‘You Won’t Believe It’ and ‘Soak Them Up’ do a much better job of selling the story the article is trying to convey than generic equivalents.”

To learn more tricks of TripAdvisor’s trade that you can apply to your own e-marketing efforts, check out This Article from GetVero.com, which offers an analysis of 20 of TripAdvisor’s best e-missives.

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