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Old 07-10-2023, 09:55 AM
13,350 posts, read 39,938,649 times
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Shan Stout of the Cookeville Visitors’ Bureau was on 94.1 this morning discussing the unexpected growth in tourism in the Cookeville area over the last couple of years. Sports tourism is about half of the tourism growth, from crossfit to regional, national, and even international sports tournaments. But in the last couple of years the growth in visitors from the Memphis area has grown exponentially. Thanks to modern technology, the visitors' bureau is able to track via cell phones where people go, and visitors from West Tennesssee are spending 4-10 days in the area instead of going to Gatlinburg. The visitors' bureau also tracks comments on websites like Yelp, and a common review is that Cookeville is a "low-key Gatlinburg" with a wonderful, well kept and walkable downtown filled with great restaurants (not chains) and shops, and the region has scads of waterfalls, rivers, and lakes to explore.

She also said that there has been a noticeable and surprising rise in international tourism. The recent international anglers competition had teams from 12 countries, most of whom arrived a couple of weeks early to scout out Center Hill Lake for the best fishing holes. The team from Romania, in particular, was ecstatic to be here and wiped out an area grocery store of all their ranch dressing (something they don't have in Romania). But for some reason, Cookeville is seeing a lot of visitors from Ireland, mainly large multi-generational families traveling around the US together and making this area one of their primary stops. The visitors shop downtown has already doubled its sales from last year, and we're only half way through the year.

I have to admit that I'm surprised by this, but then again I'm not. I relocated here from the Knoxville area ten years ago for several reasons, one of which was because there's just as much natural beauty here but without millions of obnoxious tourists. Shan Stout said that another recurring comment that visitors make is how genuinely friendly the people here are towards visitors, and that was my experience, too, before moving here which is another reason I decided to make this my permanent home.

The full interview can be found here:


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Last edited by JMT; 07-12-2023 at 08:08 AM..
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Old 07-16-2023, 10:58 AM
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Nice. Similar comments to Townsend.
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Old 09-26-2023, 06:00 PM
Location: Putnam County TN
730 posts, read 813,444 times
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On this week's Check It Out with Kathryn Wisinger podcast, Kathryn interviews Shan Stout from the visitors bureau who talks more about Cookeville's growing reputation as a cheaper and quieter version of Gatlinburg which, in turn, is luring more and more people to move here. Kathryn Wisinger is the director of the Putnam County Library System and interviews people from all walks every week such as local writers, artists, and business owners.

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