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.


Jen LeBaron Apponted Spa Manager At The Chattanoogan Hotel

The Chattanoogan hotel has hired Jen LeBaron as the spa manager for The Spa at The Chattanoogan, an upscale day spa located on the second floor of the hotel.  Ms. LeBaron is responsible for the daily operations and management of The Spa, including promotions and the training of staff.   Ms. LeBaron began her career in 2001 at The Spa at The Chattanoogan where she ... (click for more)

The Spice & Tea Exchange Coming To Hamilton Corner

The Spice & Tea Exchange will offer more than 140 spices, over 80 exclusive hand-mixed blends, 16 naturally-flavored sugars, an array of salts from around the world, and more than 30 exotic teas. Owners, Mike and Diane Tobin relocated from Vermont to open the store here in Chattanooga.  They fell in love with the Hamilton Corner location, with its diverse upscale stores ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (5)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Story You Won’t See

In a puzzling time when the big daily newspapers have veered strongly away from “all the news that is fit to print,” allow me to share a story that you very likely will not see on CNN, ABC News, or in the big media conglomerates that influence the way you think, the way you react and – as a result – easily warp our common senses. This story is very true. Late last Sunday afternoon, ... (click for more)