Soak, snap and win in Roane County
Roane County wants to reward visitors for showing others why they, too, should visit Roane County.
Interstate 40 crosses the county, about 30 miles west of Knoxville, and Roane is bisected by Watts Bar Lake. Seeking to capitalize on those features, Roane officials launched a “Soak In Roane” campaign Wednesday, which offers prizes for Instagram and Facebook contests, and draws attention to local attractions and festivals. “There’s about a million people that live within a 50-mile radius of Roane County,” said Wade Creswell, president and CEO of the Roane Alliance economic development organization. Soak In Roane targets people who live within twice that distance, plus tourists visiting Knoxville, Sevier County and even Chattanooga, he said. Roane Tourism staff will post an Instagram picture each week of something happening in Roane County, and ask people to write a caption. Winners of those weekly contest will be notified via @reply, and can get a tourism-related prize.
And there is a larger contest, asking visitors to post a collage of three to five pictures from Roane County on Facebook or Instagram with the #Soak in-Roane hashtag and a caption. Two winners will be announced in September; prizes include a weekend vacation for two, including a kayak from Uncle Lem’s Mountain Outfitters; and either a Taste of Roane Tour or a camping weekend with RV or boat rental at Caney Creek.
Details will be posted at soakinroane.com.
The campaign also promotes special events throughout the year, including a new festival Sept. 9 in Kingston to honor conservationist John Muir. He referred to Kingston as “the most heavenly place” when he passed through in 1867, during his 1,000-mile walk from Indiana to Florida, according to the announcement.
Watts Bar Lake is a major feature of the advertising campaign; it touches every community in Roane County, and is the largest lake in East Tennessee, Creswell said.
Just five counties are the major drivers of Tennessee tourism, so there’s plenty of room for the other 90 to grow, said Kevin Triplett, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. In 2015, Roane County was 23rd in the state in tourism, drawing $65.76 million in economic impact from the industry, he said. That also reaped $7.4 million in state and local sales taxes.
“For a rural county of 53,000 people, that’s certainly not insignificant,” Creswell said.
The state promotes music, history, scenic beauty, unique experiences, and family events as tourism themes, and Roane County’s campaign matches all of those, Triplett said.
What Roane has done in this Soak In Roane is take a hard look at their assets – which in large part is what Mother Nature provided in outdoor activities and scenic views and lakes – and take advantage of that,” he said.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org