Gov. Haslam wants one statewide marketing campaign for Tennessee

Gov. Haslam wants one statewide marketing campaign for Tennessee

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By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – From attractions like Dollywood and the Great Smoky Mountains, East Tennessee invites you to one experience.

"We want people to come to East Tennessee to experience the natural beauty," explained Jeff Wells, director of interpretive programming and education with Tennessee State Parks.

In West Tennessee, sights like Elvis Presley's Graceland and Beale Street show you a whole different culture.

"Memphis is blues, soul and rock and roll. It's a gritty music town. That's our calling card," explained Kevin Cane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Wells and Cane were among several government and tourism officials in Sevierville for the three-day 2012 Tennessee Governor's Conference on Tourism.

Gov. Bill Haslam says one of his goals is to weave West, Middle and East Tennessee into one unified brand.

"People say I heard this message out of Knoxville. I heard this message out of Memphis and this message out of Chattanooga. It won't help us as much as if we have one coordinated message that says here's what Tennessee is doing, and here's why you should come," Haslam said.

"At the end of the day, all of our businesses are about the brand," Haslam added as he addressed a large crowd over lunch at the Sevierville Event Center.

He says common traits like music, culture, and being family friendly could be the key to more tourism dollars. In fact, for the last year he's had a committee working on how they want to brand Tennessee.

They've also been looking at who they need to target with extra spending. "We're looking at which states we can draw people from. If we can draw better from Ohio than Kansas, we're going to target our marketing that way," Gov. Haslam said.

Officials also addressed the role of TV programming to get the state's name out nationally. Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker spoke about the impact of the Country Music Awards and mentioned that she's excited about the new show "Nashville," which will air on ABC.

Tennessee's tourism industry generates $15.36 billion. The state ranks ninth among all states in total travel.

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