Maryville, Tenn. – Today, officials with Blount Partnership and the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority hosted “Tourism Day,” a celebration highlighting the unique platforms that make Blount County, the Peaceful Side of the Smokies, an ideal tourist destination. The event was attended by the public, Blount Partnership members, special guests, and area media, and was held at the headquarters of the Blount Partnership as part of the 2013 National Travel and Tourism Week (May 4-12).
Event speakers included Tami Vater, Blount Partnership’s Director of Tourism, and Dave Jones, East Tennessee Regional Manager for the State of Tennessee’s Department of Tourist Development, who both delivered the latest statistics outlining the economic benefits of tourism on both the local level in Blount County and throughout Tennessee.
“Tourism is a clear economic driver for Blount County,” said Vater. “Each household in Blount County pays less in state and local taxes as a result of taxes generated by tourism economic activity.”
“The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is one of the leaders among state organizations in the United States tourism industry,” said Jones. “In 2011, Tennessee’s tourism generated a $15.36 billion economic impact to the state’s economy, the largest single increase we have seen year over year. More than 177,800 Tennesseans are now employed in the state’s tourism industry.”
The presentation also included a video message from State Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker.
“National Travel and Tourism Week is a perfect time to raise awareness about the significant economic development role our industry plays on the national, state and local level,” said Whitaker. “Tennessee is now ranked ninth among all states in total travel.”
In addition to presenting key tourism effects, Vater also unveiled the Blount Partnership’s first-ever “Peaceful Side of the Smokies” tourism app. According to Vater, the mobile app, which can be utilized by tourists and local citizens alike, “puts the information in the palm of your hand to enjoy your trip to Blount County and the Smokies.” The app has a full listing of Blount County’s lodging, dining, attractions and outdoor activities options as well as an events calendar and GPS-enabled map with filtered waypoints by category. The app is available for use on iPhone, iPad and Android phones in their respective app stores.
“This mobile app will allow users to connect with our area through social media platforms enabling engagement between our local tourism authority and those using the app,” explained Vater.
For more information on tourism in Blount County, visit www.smokymountains.org.
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