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.



Reliance Partners Announces New V.P. Of Risk Services, John Seidl

Reliance Partners announced the addition of John Seidl as V.P. of Risk Services. Mr. Seidl is recognized as a leading expert in DOT commercial transportation compliance.   As a former Wisconsin State Motor Carrier Trooper and FMCSA investigator with more than 20 years of experience in risk services, Mr. Seidl is well-versed in the transportation insurance space. He ... (click for more)

New Food City Coming To Ringgold/Fort Oglethorpe

Earlier today, company officials announced plans to construct a new Food City at 540 Highway US-41 in Ringgold/Ft. Oglethorpe.  The 49,700+ square foot supermarket is expected to open fall of 2018 and will serve as the area’s second location.     “The area residents in both Tennessee and Georgia have certainly been supportive of our company and we’re extremely ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Plans Affordable Housing Fund, Expansion Of Innovation District; Creation Of Council Against Extremism

Mayor Andy Berke, in his annual State of the City Address on Thursday, said he plans to establishing the city’s first Affordable Housing Fund. He said the city plans to commit $1 million to the fund "that will be used exclusively to aid the creation of affordable and workforce housing throughout Chattanooga. These funds will be used to supplement federal funding, various ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Was Recently Charged With Murder Is Accused In Another Earlier Shooting

Chattanooga Police have charged Britian Crutcher with the September 2017 shooting of LaSandra Burdette. Ms. Burdette, 26, was shot just after 3 a.m. in the 2000 block of Ocoee Street in Avondale. Her vehicle was involved in a minor wreck just before the shooting. The shooter was in another vehicle. Police recently charged Crutcher in the homicide of 28-year-old ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Black Telephone

If you have never seen one in an antique store you wouldn’t know that the first telephones were contained in a not-so-small wooden box that had a snout-looking mouth piece and a separate speaker that you would hold on your ear while you talked. This was many years ago when phones were fun as compared to today’s tiny cell phones that rudely interrupt us from the task-at-hand both ... (click for more)