Visit Knoxville gets destination marketing nod from committee

Visit Knoxville gets destination marketing nod from committee

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Visit Knoxville was selected as the apparent winner of a new contract for destination marketing services for the city of Knoxville and Knox County, officials announced Tuesday.

The evaluation committee reviewing the marketing proposals made the selection.

A joint Request for Proposals was released in July. Seven proposals were received in August.

"The evaluation committee spent hours going through I guess the seven submissions we had, literally hours, and I think they've done a phenomenal job. They evaluated every part of the proposal and at the end of the day Visit Knoxville came out on top," said Knoxville Deputy Mayor Eddie Mannis.

The city and county will now start contract negotiations with Visit Knoxville.

Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas says she's thrilled to begin the next step.

"I think where we felt very confident from day one to right this very second was we have a good infrastructure here and we are the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, so we're really excited to get through this process so we can get to the next level," Bumpas said.

When negotiations are complete, separate contracts will be presented to city council and county commission for approval.

"I can't tell you what will be in the new contract, but we will go through that process and spell out different things at that time. It will not be the exact same contract," Mannis said.

Visit Knoxville was formerly the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corp. The organization changed its name in July after controversy that resulted in the resignation of its board chairman and the retirement of its president and CEO.

"When there's public money involved and there's an apparent, at least in the public's eye, misuse of money, then I think there's a healing process for the community. It's up to (Visit Knoxville) to go out and prove to the community that they're the ones to do the job," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

Bumpas says she's excited for the opportunity to move forward and redefine tourism for the area.

"I think it boils down to just how we all want to look at tourism as a community and what do we want to value and what do we need to learn more about, and I think those will all be a part of the discussions," she explained.

Visit Knoxville has destination marketing contracts with the city and county which expire on October 31. The hope is that everything will be finalized by November 1.

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