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Commissioner lauds state tourism growth

Tennessee Department of Tourism Development Commis-sioner Susan Whitaker wants to take advantage of the state’s booming tourism industry.

Whitaker visited Knoxville Thursday, Dec. 15, and attended a meeting of the East Tennessee Marketing Partnership.

The commissioner briefly commented on the current state of the tourism industry in Tennessee and shared some recently gathered statistics about the state’s ranking among domestic destinations.

“Tourism is booming in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Whitaker. “This year, Tennessee moved from the twelfth to the eleventh most visited state among United States domestic visitors with more than forty-three million visitors traveling to Tennessee and creating an economic impact of eleven point four seven five billion dollars.”

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development figures show more that 44 million people visited Tennessee in 2004, creating an $11 billion industry for the state.

Greg Fuson, of Perdue Research, presented the results of the ETMP’s 2005 tourism conversion study that measured the effectiveness of the partnership’s advertising campaign by determining the number of travel inquires by tourists that resulted in visits to various East Tennessee destinations.  The results of the research showed that 85 percent of respondents who received information on East Tennessee visited or plan to visit East Tennessee.  The research also confirmed a potential impact of $21.6 million with 97 percent of the respondents who visited East Tennessee staying one or more nights in an East Tennessee accommodation.  The 97 percent shows a 2 percent increase when compared to the ETMP’s previous conversion study conducted in 2002.

The ETMP is a consortium of tourism professionals representing more than 80 communities, including multi-county regional tourism organizations, chambers of commerce and the region’s major airports.  The partnership, formed in 1997, is a cooperative leisure travel destination promotion organization for East Tennessee tourism and economic development.

“The ETMP enables Knoxville to expand its marketing and advertising efforts,” said Gloria Ray, Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation president and CEO.  “By pooling funds from other tourism programs across the area, we are able to buy more advertising for the East Tennessee region.”


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