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State vacation guide includes stronger focus on small towns

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 3:52 pm

To amplify the marketing programs that have helped make tourism an $18.4 billion industry in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development this year has expanded its 2017 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide to include more content promoting the state’s scenic beauty, small towns and rural communities, with enhanced events listings and stories promoting great road trips and hidden gems.

The 2017 Vacation Guide, featuring entertainment icon and official Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill Garth Brooks on stage at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, was released this week and is available free of charge at any of the 14 Tennessee Welcome Centers across the state, or by calling 1-800-GO2-TENN (462-8366). The guide can also be ordered or downloaded online at www.tnvacation.com/guide.

“Tourism is Tennessee’s second-largest industry. In 2015, we saw an increase in tourism-related tax revenues and employment in 89 of the state’s 95 counties,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

“In order to build on this success and sustain economic growth across the entire state, we have expanded the Vacation Guide’s editorial content and added more stunning photography specific to smaller towns and rural communities. Our goal is simple, expose these areas to a broader audience, enticing visitors to stay longer and spend more of their time in Tennessee.”

Tennessee ranks among the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel, with more than 105 million visitors annually. Tourism-related tax revenues topped $1 billion for the 10th consecutive year in 2015, generating 157,400 Tennessee jobs.

The 212-page Vacation Guide includes expanded editorial features for each of the state’s nine geographic regions, including sections entitled, “Country Roads” and “Hidden Gems,” which spotlight lesser-known destinations and attractions in small towns and rural communities, encouraging travelers to leave the beaten path and enjoy all that Tennessee has to offer. Each regional section also includes its own listing of notable events taking place throughout the year.

The guide also promotes Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, which encourage travelers to road trip from the state’s major cities to visit smaller towns, state parks and experience the state’s natural beauty. All 16 Trails & Byways have its own “highlights” section, profiling must-see destinations, attractions and events along the way.

The Vacation Guide features a retrospective on the Ryman Auditorium’s 125th Anniversary, written by Nashville singer-songwriter Peter Cooper, as well as feature stories and photography promoting Tennessee’s scenic beauty, creative spirit, unique experiences, culinary excellence, history, and, of course, music. Every city, all 95 counties, and every destination in Tennessee falls under one of these pillars.