Instrumental in obtaining Giles County's designation of "Wild Turkey Capital of Tennessee"What is Tourism? In 1941 Professors Walter Hunziker and Kurt Krapf of the Berne University in Switzerland defined tourism as "the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, insofar as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activity." At the Giles County Tourism Foundation, we like the more simplified way that old Mr. Webster describes tourism as the practice of traveling for recreation; and the tourist as one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture.
Instrumental in design of "Treasures and More on Highway 64" brochure promoting five counties
along Highway 64 on the David Crockett Parkway
Instrumental in changing name of Highway 64, in the 5-county Coalition, to the "David Crockett Parkway"
Apply for grants for brochures
Organize Historical Home Tour in December
Design and sell Christmas Ornaments
Advertise in free publications throughout the state and tour magazines
Attend State and Regional Tourism Seminars
Apply for grants for the Trail of Tears Memorial project
Restock brochure distribution points
David Crockett Medallions for the five counties
WHAT IS TOURISM?
At some point in our lives we all have been tourists, but defining it exactly can be difficult. How one area defines tourism can be totally different from another area. For example, the tourism target markets for Las Vegas are those who enjoy high end entertainment, luxury accommodations, and gambling. On the other hand, the Gulf Coast areas market to people looking for relaxing beaches and fun in the sun family activities. Travelers to Giles County come for many different reasons. Many come just for the day to shop or dine; others may attend festivals or events. A considerable number come to visit family and friends, to do family genealogy research, or for historical purposes. Whatever the reason for the traveler to come to our area, tourism is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires the ability to continually adapt to the traveler’s changing needs and desires.
Tourism Means Business! While the prevailing image of travel and tourism is pleasure, there is a very serious business side to the industry. Tourism is a vital part of Giles County’s economy. Tourism is a $12.4 Billion industry in Tennessee. It is the second largest industry, employing some 178,100 people. Americans spend more money on travel than on clothes, accessories, jewelry and personal care items combined. Yet, for all the economic impact, most counties lag behind in dollars they are willing to spend on tourism. So what is the business bottom line? Investments in tourism pay off! The payback is strong locally and statewide.
Tourism and travel is one of the few industries that provide more than just an economic benefit to a community. One of the benefits from tourism that may not immediately come to mind is its contribution to historic preservation. Because many historic buildings are also tourist attractions, travel spending can help support and maintain these landmarks of American (Giles County) history. There are 34 Giles County listings in the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these are featured on tours that bring travelers to our area. When they come they eat, by fuel, shop, and maybe stay over night.
You probably never thought that you, as an individual, can help Giles County's tourism industry? People generally think of the “tourism business” as something only big corporations are involved in. But tourism should awaken the entrepreneur in all of us. That quaint little shop in a historic building or that working dairy farm open for tours could be just what you’ve been thinking about. You know, there are a lot of people who have never seen how a cow gets milked. It’s not that far-fetched an idea as some of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry are cultural heritage and rural tourism. A recent national survey found that 40 percent of all American adults attended arts and crafts fairs or some type of cultural festival last year. It can be an answer to the economic difficulties facing rural America. Travelers who have already visited the big cities want to experience the authenticity of the “real American” which often only exists in our rural communities. Policymakers at all levels should make rural tourism development a top priority.
Tourism involves more than just opening the gates to the public. People remember their travel experiences for a lifetime and they expect a pleasant one. It is the job of everyone in the community to make these memories as pleasing to our visitors as possible. We should be proud that people are interested in our area. It’s important to convince them that there is an enjoyable time waiting for them here in Giles County. The motto of the Tourism Foundation is Welcome is more than just a word in Giles County, it’s what you’ll feel! Beautiful places, historic sites, museums, great restaurants, and recreation facilities are of little value if the people visiting them feel unwelcome. They must be pleased with what they see and experience in their contacts with local people or they won’t be back and what they tell others will ultimately “doom” the tourism business in an area. I remember reading once that if somebody likes what they experience they'll tell seven people, but if they don't like it, they'll tell twenty seven. It is imperative that we treat our visitors in a friendly, welcoming manner.
Your Giles County Tourism Foundation has spent years honing the skills to sell our local area and products. We are successful only after a visitor purchases that product and is satisfied with it. The product might be a scenic attraction, a piece of apple pie, or a souvenir. Before visitors can be expected to spend time (and money) in our community, they must first become interested in looking at the community and what it offers. A favorable impression brings repeat business and new business generated by the best advertising out there, word-of-mouth. There are many fine brochures on Giles County attractions at the Tourism office. Stop by and pick some up then give these freely to visitors and customers and encourage them to see and enjoy the many attractions in Giles County. Look through them yourself. You just might find something interesting about Giles County that you never knew and become a Giles County tourist yourself.
In summary, people have a ferocious appetite to discover places. They want to know what’s on the other side of the hill. Let’s make sure they find something that will have them coming back to Giles County for more.