The Morgan County Tourism Alliance was awarded three Excellence in Tourism awards at the annual Legislative Luncheon Friday February 8. The luncheon was attended by one-hundred fifty people, which included regional tourism, state and local government officials. The Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council and Visit Knoxville hosted the event at The Change Center in Knoxville.
The judges for these awards were from out of state. The awards objectives were to honor the projects and individuals that have enhanced and increased tourism's impact in the sixteen county region of Middle East Tennessee. The award categories in which The Morgan County Tourism Alliance was selected as winner were:
ANNUAL FESTIVAL/EVENT. (under 10,000 budget) THE TENNESSEE MOUNTAIN LAUREL FESTIVAL
“Celebrating the beauty of spring in E. TN, this one-day festival has grown from 100 attendees in its first year to over 3,000 in just four short years. Along with crafters, artisans, entertainment, and food, visitors also enjoy a quilt show, nature walks and hunting for multiple geocaches at this May festival. The 2018 Best Festival award goes to the Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival.”
ADVERTISING/MARKETING/PUBLIC RELATIONS: MOCO SURVIVAL GUIDE, Morgan County Tourism Alliance
“With handy tips such as how to spot a pit viper and instructions not to pet a feral hog, as well as information about local businesses and attractions, this publication was designed for the participants of both the annual Barkley 50K Fall Classic Ultra-Trail Run and Barkley Marathon. The guides were distributed to the 500 runners from around the world who participated in these events. The Best Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations award goes to the Morgan County Tourism Alliance for the MoCo Survival Guide.”
TOURISM TRAILBLAZER AWARD: THE MORGAN COUNTY TOURISM ALLIANCE
“Volunteers are an important component of tourism marketing. That is especially true for one of the counties in our region. The recipient of this award works tirelessly promoting the county through event creation and management, brochure production and distribution, social media and website management, and fund-raising, as well as partnering with local organizations to further tourism’s impact on the county. All of this is done on a volunteer basis. Through these efforts, this rural county with no major hotels appreciated a $5.02 million direct economic impact from visitor spending in 2017, an increase of 3.2%. For these efforts, the members of the Morgan County Tourism Alliance receive the Chuck Davis Tourism Volunteer of the Year Award.”
The tourism Trailblazer award nomination was submitted by someone outside our area. We were unaware of the submission. The award was a special award to honor our organization and recognize the immense amount of time VOLUNTEERS are doing to promote tourism in our county. WE WERE THE ONLY NON-PAID GROUP AMONG THE 150 ATTENDEES. It was a proud moment for those attending who represented our organization and our county of Morgan.
We ask you to join with us in promoting our county in a positive manner. If you have any business related to tourism such as store, gas station, lodging, camping, food or essential needs products, eating etc you are part of tourism. Visitors coming into Morgan County will use your products. Watch the mail and papers to read about a Hospitality Workshop MCTA will be hosting in April. Your business may be the first impression a new comer to our area will meet. We want them to leave saying, "The people we met in Morgan County were the friendliest I've ever met. I'm going to tell everyone how great Morgan County Tennessee is to visit." We are all in this together. Dave Jones, regional tourism director will be conducting the Workshop.