JACKSBORO, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – While the COVID pandemic continues to derail vacation plans for people across the nation, the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce is taking a proactive and progressive approach to promote safe travel to the community.

Funded by a federal grant earmarked to revive tourism, the Chamber’s Tourism Division is preparing to launch a multi-media marketing campaign across the region, under the theme of Safe Travel. Adventure Awaits. Chamber Executive Director Missy Tackett said the campaign marketing pieces are “scheduled for an early 2021 rollout.” The campaign includes radio spots, yard signs, rack cards for regional hotels, motels, rest stops and retail stores, brochures and social media via the chamber’s website, Facebook and Instagram. In addition, local retail stores will have the option of displaying window “clings” that coordinate with the other marketing pieces.

“The communities of Campbell County are largely dependent on revenues generated from tourism,” Tackett said. “Virtually all businesses in our area benefit from our hosting tourists as they seek lodging, dine and enjoy the countless options that nature has given us. With more than 157,000 acres of public land, seven wildlife management areas and more than a thousand miles of ATV trails, there’s no reason to believe Campbell County is not the ideal vacation destination.”

Tackett said the need for social distancing was easily achievable in Campbell County, as opposed to other tourist destinations that put people in close proximity to one another. “Here, families can come and enjoy all we have to offer while maintaining distance from others, enjoying clean air and clean fun. We believe that people are ready to get out and enjoy their lives, and would benefit from a vacation in Campbell County.”

The COVID pandemic has unleashed ravaging declines in travel here at home and around the world. The world’s tourism industry has lost more than $1.2 trillion during 2020, equal to 1.5 percent of global gross domestic product. In the United States, leisure and hospitality employment has dropped by more than 7 million jobs. September jobs reports indicate that the industry employment rate is down 23 percent, more that three times the private sector rate of decline. These numbers not only represent declines in travel rate and unemployment, but also a loss in tax revenue for municipalities and states.

Tackett acknowledged the downturn in Campbell County’s tourism was similarly significant. “Tourism has historically been the financial backbone of Campbell County,” she explained. “For example, in 2017, pre-pandemic, Campbell County generated $58 million in direct tourism expenditures, generating 490 jobs and $11.7 million in payroll. This, in turn, created more than $6.5 million in local and state tax revenue.”

“This is why we need to invest in revitalizing our tourism industry.”

“It’s important to note that the success of this campaign must extend beyond the efforts of the chamber of commerce and our tourism division,” Tackett said. “We need area businesses to be active participants in the displaying of  materials, in contacting would-be tourists and doing their part to ensure a safe environment. We also would like to encourage business owners who are not a part of the chamber of commerce to join us, not only for this initiative but in all the work we will be doing throughout the years ahead. As for now, as we will be saying, wear a mask, wash your hands and stay six feet apart.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/21/2021-6AM)