Governor Haslam Praises Industry, Commissioner Triplett Shares Music-filled Update at 2017 Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism

The 2017 Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism held Oct. 4-6, 2017 in Gatlinburg was a great success. Commissioner Kevin Triplett inspired the industry with his music-filled “State of the Industry” presentation at the Oct. 6 breakfast. During the event’s concluding luncheon, Gov. Bill Haslam praised the industry for its continuous record-breaking numbers and unwavering Tennessee hospitality to the more than 110 million visitors to the state each year.

“Exceeding $19.3 billion in annual economic impact, collecting $1.7 billion in sales tax revenue and providing jobs for 176,500 Tennesseans is good news for everyone in the state,” Gov. Haslam said. “The hard work of the tourism and hospitality industry continues to produce record results and dedication to boost Tennessee’s economy.”

Highlights of Commissioner Triplett’s presentation included a wrap-up of TDTD national marketing awards including two Clio Music Awards and two Mercury Awards, among others.

The successful launch of the Tennessee Snapchat channel with the Garth Brooks 7-Diamond Celebration Concert was among the awarded campaigns. This event garnered more than 5 million views on Tennessee’s Snapchat.

“It’s rewarding to know these campaigns were an integral part in Tennessee attracting more than 110 million visitors and an honor to be recognized by our peers for the hard work and creativity of our team and our marketing partners,” Commissioner Triplett said.

Attendees received insights from industry professionals like Anne Madison, chief strategy and communications officer for Brand USA, and Daniel Levine, director of Avant-Guide Institute and global editor of the popular trends website,

Tourism professionals also had the opportunity to sharpen their skills through seminars on topics like selling unique propositions, sports marketing, demonstrating DMO funding value, digital marketing hacks and lodging and restaurant seminars.

The 30th annual Stars of the Industry Awards Gala gave honor to inspiring industry professionals for their hospitality, business prowess and community service. Highlights included Andy Marshall, A. Marshall Family Foods, Inc. winning the Restaurateur of the Year Award; Ray Waters, Westin Nashville, winning the Hotelier of the Year; and the Tourism Professionals of the Year Awards given to Gatlinburg CVB, Pigeon Forge CVB and Sevierville CVB for their tireless efforts and heroic rebound during the November 2016 Smoky Mountain wildfires.

Finally, the Jellico I-75 Campbell Co. Welcome Center was named Welcome Center of the Year.

“Approximately 1.6 million travelers visited the center in 2016 and they maintained a 4.9 customer rating out of 5.0,” said Pete Rosenboro, assistant commissioner of TDTD Welcome Centers. “This is truly remarkable and can be directly associated to the devoted staff and their diligent work.”

Ryne Cummins, Jellico I-75 Campbell Co. Welcome Center manager, accepted the award on behalf of the welcome center staff.

“We have a dedicated, hardworking team and we are honored to receive this award,” Ryne Cummins said.

The 2018 Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism will take place Sept. 19-21 at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort in Kingsport.