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TDC hosts seminar on tourism for local businesses

October 17, 2018

Tourism expert, Dave Jones, gives a speech on the natural beauty and heritage of Mountain City and Johnson County, during a recent seminar on tourism in the region. Photo by Megan Hollaway

By Megan Hollaway
Freelance Writer

Johnson County and Mountain City businessmen and women have once again gathered together to discuss and focus on aspects of tourism in the region. Tourism experts for northeast Tennessee, Alicia Phelps and Dave Jones, both conducted the seminar, which focused on why tourism is important and how to boost it in the area. The emphasis was obvious zeroing onto the benefits to tourism, such as increasing income, and helping diversify the economy.

Phelps provided attendees with some statistics including the fact that just last year Johnson County generated more than ten million dollars in direct tourism expenditures. To put that in a household-to-household number, each household in the county pays $198.12 less in local and state taxes thanks to the tourism dollars brought in from local businesses and destinations, officials said. The first half of the event focused on the effects of tourism and why places like the local community are important to tourists anyway.

Jones, one of the key speakers, said, “There are four pillars of Tennessee Tourism: Scenic beauty, Music, Family experiences, and History and Heritage.”

Jones also described tourists as seeking an authentic southern experience.

“Johnson County, which is full to the brim with natural, gorgeous views, friendly southern hospitality, and a rich historical and musical background fits every criterion.”

The second half of the seminar focused on the aspect of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google and its relationship with locally owned businesses in tourism. The discussion also included a workshop to either improve currently existing social media pages for local businesses or support them in creating social media accounts, while attention was also on just how to build a business’s online presence.

“This kind of workshop and seminar is critical to the businesses of Johnson County,” said Richard Calkins, owner of Harbin Hill Farms. “I am glad to have participated in it.”

Phelps and Jones, along with the Tourism Development Council of Johnson County, have confirmed their intent to host another seminar and workshop once the need arises, or more local businesses express a desire to attend.