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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Tourism study
Businesses associated with the tourism industry in Cocke County gathered Monday to hear an initial report from two firms who recently conducted a review of the community's tourism prospects. Shannon Gray of Gray Research Solutions and Judy Randall of Randall Travel Marketing conducted the study funded with a state grant. Randall said the study was aimed at finding ways to increase revenue to Cocke County through tourism without asking local residents for additional funding. "Cocke County is incredibly fortunate...God has been very good to you, and has given you a wealth of tourism products that people want. It is too beautiful to just let tourism happen. You are the pretty lady at the party, you are in charge of growing the community in the most beneficial way possibele," Randall said. One of the issues has been that the Cocke County Partnership has seen operating costs increase without additional governmental funding. As a result funding for marketing the community was slashed from $50,000 annually to a level of $25,000 in the current fiscal year. The study found that the community could increase tourism by hiking the occupancy tax on motels, cabin rentals, Airbnb etc, by two percent. It could be increased from the current two percent, to collect an additional $165,000annually, earmarked for marketing. According to Randall, studies in Tennesse show a clear correlation between the amount of money spent on marketing, and the number of visitors. Tourism today is a $46 million industry in Cocke County, with 9 million motorists traveling through the county on Interstate 40 annually, and more than 11 million visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The study found that the community needs better signage, better-detailed maps and more restrooms. And the community needs more attractions to encourage longer stays, and efforts aimed at the tourist having a positive experience. TV personalities, Mark Ramsey and Eric Manes of the Discovery Channel's Moonshiners, said they promote Cocke County and it's heritage every opportunity they have. Randall also called on the community to enact zoning regulations and to "direct and develop creatively" to prevent a repeat of the Pigeon Forge tourism “glitz”. She called on the group to organize and to speak with a unified voice in an effort to persuade community leaders of the need for more marketing money. Partnership President Lucas Graham said efforts are underway to designate certain areas in the county as Tourism Districts, and then develop an enhanced destination with TIF (tax increment financing)for funding needed infrastructure etc.


Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Sunday, December 10, 2017

  • Are you owed under a life insurance policy ?
  • CHIP needs funding

    Saturday, December 09, 2017

  • Careful about cryptocurrency

    Friday, December 08, 2017

  • Feldner arrest
  • Cocke County Corrections Partnership
  • Recreation survey
  • Additional inmates charged in jail assault

    Thursday, December 07, 2017

  • Cocke primary candidates
  • Watch for deer
  • FBI asks help of public in search for bank robber
  • Bredesen running for US Senate
  • Solar is popular in Tennessee
  • Pruitt to coach the Vols

    Wednesday, December 06, 2017

  • Cocke County Jail assault
  • Whitewater rafting numbers
  • More trees stolen in Cocke County
  • Opioid use=$2 billion annual cost to Tennessee
  •    

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