County tourism promotes events
By Scott Pearson
The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce aims to put Marshall County back on the tourism map.
Chamber Director Ritaanne Weaver, partnering with Lewisburg Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe and Marshall County Joint Economic and community Development Board Director Mike Wiles, is finishing up the process of putting together a tourism brochure for the county for the first time in years.
The trio was awarded a grant from the state tourism department to cover half of the cost of the brochure and they presented to project to the County Commission’s Tourism Board on March 16 for the other half of the funds.
The $5,000 project, designed and printed by Lewisburg Printing, will produce 20,000 copies of a brochure highlighting various events, businesses, and activities to attract visitors to the county. An electronic version will also be available online.
Lowe told the committee that the state had already committed to stocking the marketing piece at the two welcome centers on I-65 in Ardmore and Mitchellville, and that the Williamson County, Davidson County, and Rutherford County Chambers also wanted to distribute the fliers to visitors as well.
“They want as many as we can give them,” said Lowe.
Data from the state tourism office shows close to $22 million spent in Marshall County in 2015 on activities that they considered to be related to domestic travel.
This generated almost $2 million in state and local tax receipts.
“We will see an effect,” Lowe said. “We are not out there now so we will only see those dollars increase with what we have to do out there.”
Weaver said that even though there was no cost for businesses to be added to the brochure, some had declined to participate.
Attractions have until the end of April to submit their information for inclusion in the brochure.
“We need to do everything we can do to encourage tourism,” said committee member R.L. Williams, prior to a unanimous approval from the committee.
The committee also approved $500 for media costs for the first Duck River Days festival at Henry Horton State Park.
Stacey Cothran requested the funds on behalf of the Friends of Henry Horton, who are trying to rebrand and expand the former Springfest event at the park.
“We’d really like to ramp up our advertising to get the festival out to surrounding counties too,” Cothran said. “We want to make this a larger event. We really want to push the Duck River brand.”
Cothran said that the April 15 festival will have an expanded offering of events, from bluegrass bands to kayaking demonstrations to an exotic animal show, among other things planned.