Legacy Parks Foundation
Outdoor tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism segments, reaching $260 billion in 2013. East Tennessee, anchored by Knoxville, possesses some of the country’s most outstanding outdoor/adventure natural resources and assets. No one organization in East Tennessee was focused on developing, marketing or promoting outdoor/adventure tourism. In the face of this void, Legacy Parks Foundation stepped in to serve as a catalyst and driver to develop and implement an East Tennessee Outdoor/Adventure Tourism Program.
Ackermann recommended the development of a strategic brand and marketing planning process and resulting plan of action. A comprehensive research phase was the first step. Ackermann gathered input from community stakeholders, benchmarked successful adventure tourism areas across the United States, and developed a database of demographic and psychographic information regarding the outdoor/adventure tourist.
Informed by the research findings, Ackermann created a comprehensive strategic plan that included: a structure for operating an outdoor/adventure tourism organization; a brand strategy and platform; a multi=media marketing plan; a plan for resource development to fund the tourism initiative; a communications plan to create awareness and build community support; and measurement and evaluation recommendations.
The implementation of the strategic plan generated outstanding results. Ackermann helped Legacy Parks create the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center as a focal point of the initiative as well as “Outdoor Knoxfest,” which offered three days of urban adventure and is attracting outdoor enthusiasts from across the country. CheckPoint Tracker, the nation’s largest adventure racing series, selected Knoxville to host its 2013 National Championships. Through Legacy Parks’ efforts, the State of Tennessee has designated an area of the Urban Wilderness as the state’s 56th and only “Birding State Park.” Exemplifying the community’s support is the fact that citizens have stepped forward to donate family-owned land to expand the 1,000+ acre Urban Wilderness.