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.


SIGNIX Hires New Vice President Of Partner Development

SIGNiX , a company that provides secure and simple digital signature services announced the hiring of its new Vice President of Partner Development, Leonora Zilkha Williamson. Ms. Williamson will work to identify and target potential partners in a variety of industries.  SIGNiX has long been a partner-centric company that focuses on providing total solutions to software ... (click for more)

Northgate And Hamilton Place Malls Offer Free Trick Or Treating

Northgate & Hamilton Place Mall Stores are offering free family fun  with trick or treating at participating mall stores on Friday, Oct. 31.  It will last from 6 p.m. until close while supplies last. (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Not Everything Has Been Done To Save Hutcheson

I am a resident of Walker County and I have a personal belief that a hospital ranks equal to other basic services a community should offer (like police, fire, emergency services, school systems, government, etc.). I am not privy to all the management and financial conundrums concerning the feasibility of maintaining and growing Hutcheson, and as a private citizen I don’t believe ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)