Bredesen Announces Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways Tourism Initiative

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 | 09:06am
Country Superstars Rascal Flatts Lend Their Voices to the Marketing Campaign
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Governor Phil Bredesen announced today the launch of Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways with the debut of the Old Tennessee Trail. Rascal Flatts will be lending their voices and support to the project as part of the marketing campaign.
Led by the Department of Tourist Development, Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways is a statewide initiative encompassing all 95 counties along 15 regional trails, and featuring Tennessee’s five National Scenic Byways. The Old Tennessee Trail will highlight more than 70 significant tourism sites, promoting Davidson, Williamson and Maury Counties.
Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Department of Tourist Development, announced the participation of reigning country music group of the year Rascal Flatts. The group will be lending their voices and support to the project as part of the marketing campaign, including television spots urging visitors to “Get Your Backstage Pass” to Tennessee by visiting the trails and byways. Fittingly, the group’s hit song “Life is a Highway,” makes Rascal Flatts excellent musical ambassadors as part of the branding campaign.
"The Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways program will enhance established tourism offerings and bring greater awareness to lesser-known attractions located in communities throughout all 95 counties of our state," said Bredesen. "This idea, which originated with a private citizen, has led to a partnership between state agencies, local officials and tourism partners that holds economic opportunities for every county and will allow visitors to experience more of Tennessee's special places and scenic landscapes."                                                                               
Also in attendance were Commissioner of Transportation Gerald Nicely; Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber; Commissioner of Environment and Conservation Jim Fyke; Commissioner of Agriculture Ken Givens; Commissioner of Revenue Reagan Farr, State Senator Jack Johnson; State Representative Ty Cobb; Mayor Rogers Anderson, Williamson County; Mayor John Schroer, Franklin; Mayor Jim Bailey, Maury County; Mayor Bill Gentner, Columbia; Mayor Richard Hendrix, Mount Pleasant; Mayor Michael Dinwiddie, Spring Hill; Butch Spyridon, president/CEO, Nashville CVB; Mark Shore, executive director, Williamson County CVB; Brenda Pierce, executive director, Maury County CVB; Aubrey Preston, visionary preservationist from Leiper’s Fork.
In addition to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Department of Transportation, state agencies participating in the trails program include the Departments of Economic and Community Development, Environment and Conservation, and Agriculture.
“The trails initiative is one of the most comprehensive marketing and branding initiatives ever to be launched from the state’s tourism department,” said Whitaker. “Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways is an opportunity to showcase tourism’s major sites as well as our state’s exceptional off-the-beaten-path attractions which are some of Tennessee’s greatest assets.”
“Tennessee is a beautiful state, and like many music celebrities, we are proud to call it home,” said Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts. “While music is showcased from Beale Street to Broadway to Bristol, its roots often come from our back roads and small towns, and as songwriters, it’s largely what inspires us. So we’re honored to be a part of this program that showcases that ‘Life Is A Highway,’ promoting life in Tennessee with scenic drives and true inspiration. And we’re certain you’ll be able to experience some incredible music on your journey, heard from general stores, front porches and other unexpected places along the way.”
The concept behind the program is to leverage Tennessee’s visitor brands including Chattanooga, Knoxville, Great Smoky Mountains, Memphis and Nashville. Self-guided driving trails extend visitor’s stays by showcasing nearby regional gems such as Jack Daniel Distillery, Trenton’s Teapot Museum, Gray Fossil Site and Museum, the homes of three American presidents, our award-winning state parks and agritourism sites.
“In Tennessee, we’re proud to have five National Scenic Byways,” said Nicely. “This new program provides a statewide byway initiative that will raise awareness for our visitors and enhance their Tennessee travel experience.”
The Department of Tourist Development will provide tourism partners with a branding starter kit including dynamic trail names and logos such as “Proud Mary,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Walking Tall,” as well as brochures and Web site development. In addition to the branding starter kit Tourist Development will support this effort through the existing media plan which includes television, print and online. Additional trails will be launched throughout the state beginning in January and throughout the spring, with the Old Tennessee Trail serving as a model.
“The trails program enhances our rural development efforts, providing a direct route for both visitors and residents to Tennessee’s main streets,” said Kisber. “Motivating visitors to get out and explore some of Tennessee’s small town treasures will benefit our tourism communities and our state.”                   
This grassroots concept to develop trails with a focus on history and attractions was brought to state officials by a private citizen, Aubrey Preston. Preston is a history buff and visionary preservationist from Leiper’s Fork.
The second tier of the celebration and announcement took place later in the day in Maury County at the Mt. Pleasant Grille. Speakers included Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker; Brenda Pierce, executive director of the Maury County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Michelle Williams, director of the Community Development Commission of Mount Pleasant; Jim Barrier, owner of the Mt. Pleasant Grille; Aubrey Preston of Leiper’s Fork.
Tennessee is home to numerous international attractions, including Dollywood, the Grand Ole Opry, Jack Daniel Distillery, the National Civil Rights Museum, The James K. Polk Ancestral Home, the Tennessee Aquarium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Bristol Motor Speedway. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America, with more than 9 million visitors annually.

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