(WBIR-Knoxville) Knoxville's convention and visitors bureau has announced a new marketing campaign designed to draw more tourists to the area.
The new campaign, called "Visit Knoxville.. the Memories Stay With You," was unveiled Tuesday morning. It touts Knoxville as a getaway destination, promoting the city's unique festivals and attractions.
"This new campaign was developed after extensive market research unveiled leisure tourism was previously under emphasized, yet was a high value market for Knoxville's tourism industry," said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville.
"This is the first time in 10 years that we've focused on leisure travel. We generally focus more on the convention travel, which is important. We want to get people here for conventions but also we believe we can be attractive to the leisure traveler," Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said.
This new marketing campaign is part of the group's focus on rebranding tourism in Knoxville, after the departure last year of Gloria Ray, the previous head of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, the former name for the city's tourism efforts.
A 10News investigation revealed misspending by the group, including a huge salary and bonus structure for Ray.
Since then, the group changed names, selected new leadership, restructured the board of directors, and launched new efforts to define Knoxville's strengths and opportunities when it comes to destination marketing.
The research, done with The Tombras Group, revealed their was low awareness of Knoxville as a place to visit for leisure travel, but once people visited, they fell in love with the blend of Southern hospitality, urban wilderness, and cultural and sporting activities. Knoxville's revitalized downtown was another draw for visitors.
City Mayor Madeline Rogero and County Mayor Tim Burchett have been working on a competitive airfare program. "The idea is to get some more options in terms of lower fare airlines and I think that will help get those leisure travelers in here as well," Mayor Rogero said.
To see the research, and how Visit Knoxville plans to utilize it to draw more visitors to the area, check out the Marketing Road Map.