Blount County kicks off National Tourism Week

Blount County kicks off National Tourism Week

Posted:
The Blount Partnership has launched several tourism apps. The Blount Partnership has launched several tourism apps.
"We've seen an uptick in tourism that's come into the community, and we want to continue to encourage that," said Blount Partnership President Brian Daniels. "We've seen an uptick in tourism that's come into the community, and we want to continue to encourage that," said Blount Partnership President Brian Daniels.
"Tennessee is getting on a lot of people's radar," said Tennessee Department of Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker. "Tennessee is getting on a lot of people's radar," said Tennessee Department of Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Tourism is Blount County's second largest industry and as they celebrated the second annual Tourism Day, they are reporting significant increases.

"We've seen an uptick in tourism that's come into the community, and we want to continue to encourage that," said Blount Partnership President Brian Daniels.

The Blount Partnership announced some new ways to better the experience of these new visitors.

"We've been launching several apps," said Daniels. "We have six apps that's really designed for the visitor that comes to the Smoky Mountains from motorcycling to biking and hiking to a variety of different things."

Tennessee Department of Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker says the state as a whole is seeing similar increases.

"Tennessee is getting on a lot of people's radar," said Whitaker. "Not just from our contiguous states, but also some of the long haul markets. That's good news because when people are from further away they stay longer and spend more."

Governor Bill Haslam gave the tourism department extra dollars to reach out to those people, but the industry took a blow last month when the governor announced those same funds would not be returning.

"The governor had put in $8 million this current year of non-recurring funds that we could use for additional marketing and in his latest budget proposal he started with an additional $4 million of non-recurring funds," said Whitaker.

Whitaker says while that is a hit their main budget remained untouched and expects the industry to continue to thrive.

"I think we can expect to see more people coming, staying longer, spending money, and that's exciting for any Tennessean because that's tax relief and that's jobs," said Whitaker.

The Great Smoky Mountains are expected to be one of the largest draws.

Tourism in the state created a $16.2 billion direct economic impact. The yearly impact in Blount County is estimated at $300 million.
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