Chamber members hear from 3 Star committees

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Tourism and Beautification chairs speak

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Tourism and beautification of Hohenwald reports were heard by members of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday at their first meeting of the new year.

A welcome by President Debbie Landers was followed by recognition of new members by Executive Director Janet Johnson.

Barbara Hinson reported the Three Star Beautification committee noted downtown revitalization efforts and improvements to businesses. Restorations of older buildings in the city have contributed to an improved appearance, she indicated. Flowers are planted along streets by civic organizations such as the Pilot Club of Hohenwald and maintained by Buffalo River Services. Other landscaped areas are planned as well.

Tony Turnbow reported on the state of tourism in Lewis County and how the impact resulted in a local payroll of $840,000 and 50 jobs in 2009. “Tourism can have an impact on our community of up to $20 million dollars in 2011,” he added.

Hotel/Motel taxes collected from 2.5 percent of a room charge resulted in $657,781 locally for Lewis County, he continued.

“We have the resources to build a tourism industry,” Turnbow said noting local entities such as three wineries, an Elephant Sanctuary Education gallery, the grave of Meriwether Lewis, a national park and the Buffalo River, one of the most scenic rivers in the United States.

“We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” he said, urging the group toward marketing the community.

Turnbow suggested marketing can include promotion of a brand and the most likely name would be “Hohenwald.”

When you hear Gatlinburg or Destin, what do you think? People have done a great job of branding the cities so we have an image when we think of them. In Hohenwald, we can also create a brand to market our natural beauty.

As president of the Natchez Trace Association for the next two years, Turnbow will promote living history events along the Natchez Trace as well as focus on a celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

“Tennessee became the Volunteer State during that year,” he added.

Nashville’s Trace promises to add to the tourism industry for 2011, he added with the backing and promotion of the state of Tennessee. Greyline Tours is discussing extending a tour along Loop 4 of the Nashville’s Trace which would include Hohenwald.

Tourism is business driven in Lewis County, not funded by the governments other than advertising in marketing pieces. Needs for the community include appropriate signage in strategic places and hospitality. “We need to make sure we treat our tourists well,” he concluded.

President Landers spoke briefly of the Five Year Strategic Plan recently updated by members of Three Star Committees. “It gets everyone on the same page,” she said, urging members to contact EC&D to review a copy of the plan.

Hinson Turnbow

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