LONDON - The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Knoxville Convention & Visitors Bureau, in partnership with BrandUSA, joined forces to launch “Sights & Sounds of Tennessee” in London’s Waterloo Station.
The interactive exhibit opened June 4 for a 14-day virtual reality experience, capitalizing on British Airways’ new nonstop service from Heathrow to Nashville, and formally introducing all of Tennessee to British travelers seeking new international travel destinations. The Tennessee activation offers more than 275,000 daily commuters at Waterloo Station the opportunity to remotely experience Tennessee and learn more about destinations and attractions across the state.
“Sights & Sounds of Tennessee” visitors can stand atop a giant map of Tennessee and use headphones to listen to music recordings and other sounds one can experience only in Tennessee. Corresponding websites, accessible via mobile devices, enable visitors to virtually transport themselves to Tennessee destinations including a 360-degree scenic vista overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains and the state’s many popular music attractions in Memphis, Nashville or Knoxville.
The exhibit also hosts live music by the UK Americana Music Association, featuring some of the growing genre’s top artists, followed by Jack Daniel’s sponsored happy hour tastings inviting commuters to enjoy samples while they take in the Tennessee experience. The two-week run launched June 4 with a special event for London media that included performances by Gill Landry, formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show, and Yola Carter, 2017 UK Americana Music Association Artist of the Year.
The Waterloo installation is just one piece of a larger month-long effort for Tennessee Tourism’s "The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee." campaign that includes out-of-home advertising across the city. Campaign creative includes notable Tennessee music destinations such as Ryman Auditorium, Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Tennessee Theatre, promotes the British Airways flight to Nashville and encourages British travelers to learn more about vacation opportunities across the entire state.
A partnership with Spotify enables Londoners to scan a special code posted to outdoor boards and immediately listen to Tennessee music playlists created especially for Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis. Spotify users can also visit a special Spotify “travel agent” landing page, tnholiday.com, where Spotify serves up images of Tennessee destinations and attractions that match the music tastes of the user.
Tennessee was the fastest-growing state for international travel in the U.S. last year, with international travelers spending $934 million in the state, up 11 percent year-over-year and 39 percent since 2012, according to a report from Tourism Economics data issued earlier this month. The United Kingdom is Tennessee’s second-largest international market, behind Canada, followed by Australia and Germany.
Statewide, direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached an all-time record high of $19.3 billion in 2016, up 4.7 percent over the previous year, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association.
Overall, Tennessee experienced 113.6 million person stays in 2017, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2016, according to the latest research from DK SHIFFLET. Tennessee ranks among the Top 10 travel destinations in the U.S. for the fourth consecutive year.
“The UK is home to some of the world’s greatest travelers, many of whom have been coming to Tennessee for years to experience The Soundtrack of America and enjoy our Southern hospitality, great cities, rich history and beautiful outdoors,” said Kevin Triplett, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “The new nonstop service aboard British Airways makes reaching Tennessee easier than ever, and the exhibit at Waterloo Station will help us attract interest from even more visitors from across the Atlantic.”
“The Sights & Sounds of Tennessee” exhibit is a cooperative marketing effort led by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, working in partnership with BrandUSA, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Knoxville Convention & Visitors Bureau, to formally introduce Tennessee to Londoners through an interactive sight, sound and taste experience in London’s Waterloo Station.