Knoxville hopes conference boosts outdoor image

(WBIR - Knoxville) More than 200 outdoor journalists are visiting Knoxville for the 9th annual Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Business Conference.

The conference, which ends Saturday, allows the writers, photographers, and communicators to enhance their business skills while checking out some new products presented by some top outdoor businesses.

"Everything from backpacks to insect repellents to fish hooks to firearms. You name it, it's here," explained Doug Gilmer, editor for Grand View Media Group.

Thursday, outdoor businesses met inside the Knoxville Convention Center to show off their new merchandise in hopes of persuading the writers to feature their products.

"It gives us an opportunity to do one-on-one conversations with them, see what they need in terms of information, and of course we're hoping that they'll write about our products," said Kevin Howard, who represented Mossy Oak Camouflage.

"Some of the large circulations in the industry like Guns and Ammo and American Rifleman, which all have circulations of 500,000 plus to 2.2 million plus," said Ryan Repp of Brownells.

The businesses aren't the only ones reaping the benefits of the attention. The City of Knoxville also wants to take advantage.

Visit Knoxville went on the hunt to bring the POMA conference to town and they hit the mark, with the conference drawing more than 200 people to the area for several days. Visit Knoxville estimates the event will initially generate $218,177, but there's the potential for millions more.

"Any time you have to opportunity to reach out to more than 200 communications professionals in our industry, we hold other media events. We hold our sales trips. We have big conventions. Now they know about Knoxville and they know they can bring their business here," said Laurie Lee Dovey, executive director for POMA.

Knoxville leaders are pitching almost 40 miles of hiking and biking trails, access to rivers and lakes, all within an hour of the Smoky Mountains.

"Overall impression of the city, two thumbs up! I can't thank the people here enough," said Steve McGrath of Camp Chef.

"You have great trails, great hiking, great fishing, great hunting. It's just a great setting for this type of group," said Howard.

"I would tell anybody to hold an event here. Go Vols! We've been having a great time," said Dovey.

To find out more about POMA visit


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