Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett announced today that the departments’ annual Governor’s Conferences will be held in Gatlinburg in October 2017.
“Team Tennessee means nothing if we aren’t there to help one another in times of need. Because of the tremendous loss experienced by the Gatlinburg community late last year, we could think of no better way to offer our support than to host our largest event of the year in Gatlinburg,” Commissioner Boyd said. “It means so much to be able to host these conferences in Gatlinburg to reiterate to Tennesseans across the state that Gatlinburg is still a thriving city. I hope with each conference that we are able to enhance the local tourism and show just how much Gatlinburg is flourishing.”
Both the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) conferences will bring attendees from across the state to Gatlinburg to learn more about economic development and tourist development. Each conference has a common cause: to remind Tennesseans that Gatlinburg is open for business.
"We move our conference around the state each year and Gatlinburg was on the radar even before the tragic wildfires of late November,” Commissioner Triplett said. “Once that occurred, the opportunity to host our conference there, bring visitors there and shine a light on one of our greatest destinations in Gatlinburg and Sevier County was an easy decision. Sevier County is open for business and has been. This is another way for us to bring attention to that fact."
“We are delighted to bring the Governor’s Conference to Gatlinburg this year,” said Darik Dawes, 2017 chairman of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association, the organization that produces TDTD’s annual conference. “Not only is Gatlinburg one of the state’s premier travel destinations and a great location for conferences and conventions, we thought it was important to support our friends and partners there following the wildfires of 2016 and to help spread the word that Gatlinburg and Sevier County are totally open for business.”
Both conferences will be held in October with the TDTD’s conference being held from Oct. 4-6 and TNECD’s being held from Oct. 26-27. Each conference will have sessions and speakers from different fields to educate attendees on tourism and economic development.
“We are so pleased to host the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development and Tourism next October in Gatlinburg,” Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner said. “Clearly we have gone through trying times, but Gatlinburg is open and ready for business. With new hotels and attractions coming in 2017 and 2018, we are looking forward to sharing with the rest of the state all the good things going on in Gatlinburg.”
“Partnering with the State to bring the Governor’s Conferences to Gatlinburg couldn’t come at a better time,” Mark Adams, Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO, said. “We are so glad conference attendees will see firsthand the exciting developments we have going on in 2017 and thankful they will continue to help us in spreading the message of visiting our area and seeing our beautiful Smokies.”