Tennessee tourism leaders developing strategic plan

Tennessee tourism leaders developing strategic plan

September 19th, 2013 by Associated Press in Local Regional News

A visitor sports a Rock City hat while visiting the Ruby Falls gift shop.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tourism leaders from around Tennessee are hoping a new strategic plan will attract more visitors to the state and turn it into one of the nation's top 10 travel destinations.

The Tennessean reported that the plan was put together by the Tennessee Tourism Committee, which was formed by Gov. Bill Haslam shortly after he took office in 2011.

Some recommendations in the plan include establishing a Tennessee-specific brand for tourism attractions, developing a market plan that focuses on key markets and encourages longer stays, putting together a network of festivals and events that focus on music and targeting the youth sports market.

Tennessee was ranked in 2011 as No. 17 among U.S. states for visitors. Its 1.9 percent of the U.S. market share hasn't changed in five years.

Committee members included Ryman Hospitality Properties CEO Colin Reed, Dolly Parton Productions business manager and partner Ted Miller and Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden as well as other industry leaders around the state.

The committee believes the state can continue drawing day trip visitors from border states.

"The goal is to take us from 17th in revenue generation and take ourselves into the top 10. If we can do that, it's an additional $2.5 [billion] to $3 billion of revenue coming in to Tennessee," Reed said. "And the tax and job creation is enormous."

The group says the state should continue drawing day trip visitors from bordering states and increase visitors from secondary markets such as Chicago.