First Regional Geotourism Conference Planned With National Geographic

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism Council and the Southeast Watershed Forum announced the first southeastern conference on Geotourism planned in cooperation with National Geographic and sponsored by the Lyndhurst Foundation, with additional support from Benwood Foundation and Plan East Tennessee, will be held Aug. 15 at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown. The program is designed for tourism operators, hospitality businesses, outfitters, local and regional planning associations, chambers of commerce, state and federal agencies, and park and recreation departments.  

Geotourism: A Promising Strategy for Sustainable Economic Development is a day-long conference with regional and national speakers and resource people to explore ways to enhance Geotourism and sustainable travel and business practices as key economic drivers for communities in the East Tennessee River Valley. Geotourism enhances preservation of the cultural, historical and natural resources that draw people to a region and promotes a business ethic that places a high value on protecting the world's distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and destination stewardship, officials said.

The conference speakers will include John Campbell, national brand manager for National Geographic Travel Group; Dan Austin, director of Austin-Lehman Adventures, a company specializing in world-wide adventure travel; Chris Seek, Marketing for Solimar International, and Commissioner Susan Whitaker from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Regional successes in geotourism will be featured, as well, such as Gatlinburg Goes Green, Outdoor Chattanooga and Outdoor Knoxville.

“I spend a great deal of my travels abroad, said Mr. Austin," when asked to speak at the upcoming Geotoursim Conference in Chattanooga, it was an immediate yes. Getting a chance to explore a bit of the East Tennessee River Valley and spend some time with the local operators, has been on my bucket list for years.” Mr. Austin's company, Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA) was named the “Best Tour Operator in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine readers in 2009. Mr. Austin and ALA have stayed at the very top of this list every year since that first year, hitting #1 in Family Travel again in 2012.

The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism Council is a group of 25 regional organizations and associations working in partnership with National Geographic to designate the region a National Geographic Destination and to manage the online Geotourism MapGuide, (www.TennesseeRiverValleyGeotourism.org). The Council is coordinated by the nonprofit, Southeast Watershed Forum, based in Knoxville. 

The conference will explore how geotourism can be a driver for economic growth in the region. Go to: www.southeastwaterforum.org for conference information and online registration.


Hixson Dentist Awarded Tennessee Dental Association Fellowship

Dr. Michael R. Johnson, a Hixson dentist, received the prestigious Tennessee Dental Association (TDA) Fellowship Award during the recent Music City Dental Conference held in Nashville, the 149th annual meeting of the TDA. The Fellowship Award is presented to no more than twelve deserving Tennessee dentists each year who make noteworthy contributions of their time and talent toward ... (click for more)

James Appointed Chief Medical Officer Of BlueCare Tennessee

Dr. Jeanne James has been named vice president and chief medical officer of BlueCare Tennessee, the Medicaid managed care subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Dr. James will oversee and guide medical policy for BlueCare Tennessee, and provide clinical direction on programs to improve health for members. “We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. James’ expertise ... (click for more)

Carmody Found Guilty Of First-Degree Felony Murder; Sentenced To Life In Prison

Patrick Carmody was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of first-degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in Judge Barry Steelman’s courtroom on Friday. He was charged with the slaying of 21-year-old Chance LeCroy on Sept. 9, 2010. The state’s account of the incident claimed that Carmody, Ronald Pittman, and Billy Bob Partin traveled ... (click for more)

HCDE Releases Assistant Principal Appointments

The Hamilton County Department of Education Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly announced Friday several new assistant principal appointments. “Strong leadership teams in every school are crucial to success, and assistant principals are a critical factor in this equation. We are confident that these teams will accelerate student learning throughout our district,” ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Judge's Night Behind Bars

There is very little doubt that retired Army Sergeant Joe Serna has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving three tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. Once he barely avoided being blown up by a hidden IED and then there was another terrifying brush with a suicide bomber. But the worst was when a truck he was in slid off the roadway into a canal. “It was like ... (click for more)