October 12, 2017


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau’s Vice President of Visitor Development Zach Ledbetter and Director of Public Relations & Marketing Molly Brown attended Tennessee’s premier tourism conference of the year last week in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The Governor’s Conference on Tourism, hosted by the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association (TnHTA) in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD), offers two and a half days of networking and seminars with industry partners from across the state. Specialized sessions and workshops offered best practices in visitor development for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) like the visitors’ bureau, as well as options for the restaurant, hotel, and attraction sectors.

The conference concluded with a state of the industry address from keynote speakers Commissioner Kevin Triplett and Governor Bill Haslam. Both thanked industry members for inspiring travel to Tennessee and congratulated them on another record-breaking year of growth; referencing economic impact numbers originally announced in August. Last year, 110 million visitors were welcomed to Tennessee, maintaining tourism as the No. 2 industry in the state.

“Exceeding $19.3 billion in annual economic impact, collecting $1.7 billion in sales tax revenue and providing jobs for 176,500 Tennesseans is good news for everyone in the state,” Haslam said. “The hard work of the tourism and hospitality industries continues to produce record results and dedication to boost Tennessee’s economy.”

Putnam County’s visitor-driven economic impact grew by nearly one million dollars over the previous year with $123.06 million in tourism expenditures. $23.02 million was generated by tourism-related jobs, with a 1.3 percent increase in payroll. Local tax receipts also saw a 1.3 percent rise and a 2.5 percent increase in state tax receipts was also reported. Employment numbers remained steady with more than 1,000 hospitality industry jobs in Putnam County.

Tennessee places among the Top 10 travel destinations in the U.S. for the third consecutive year and is considered a top retirement destination.

Commissioner Triplett also provided highlights of TDTD’s innovative, award-winning marketing initiatives; sales missions that extend nationally and internationally; and public relations projects that continue to show the world Tennessee is a premier vacation destination for people of all ages and interests.

In addition to a detailed economic impact report, the TDTD FY2017 Annual Report was also made available to partners in attendance. Both can be found online at

PHOTO: Left: TDTD Commissioner Kevin Triplett; Right: Gov. Bill Haslam