NEW YORK – The state’s tourism board is launching an effort to lure beachgoers back to the state’s beaches, a move that comes after Gov.
Bill Haslam said tourism will continue to decline under President Donald Trump.
The board on Thursday voted unanimously to put out a solicitation for beachgoers to pitch in and buy beach tickets, the first step toward a statewide initiative.
It would allow the state to hire an advertising firm to create a campaign with the slogan “Tennessee’s beaches are open, and we love you back,” said board chairman Robert Rau.
The announcement comes as the governor has said tourism could decline to as low as 0.6 percent of the state in 2019 if Trump continues to lead the nation’s economic growth.
The Republican president is also reportedly considering a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.
The governor said he wants to focus on getting people back on the beach, particularly those who have been affected by hurricanes and wildfires.
“This is not about a national security issue.
This is about our beaches,” he said during a visit to the Gulf of Mexico in September.”
We are seeing the effects of hurricanes and fires on people’s lives.
People have been leaving the beaches for the last six months.
This was a decision that was made with an eye toward what is best for the people of Tennessee and the people that are here.”
Rau said the campaign would not target specific resorts.
But it could include a trip to the beaches at SeaWorld or Disney World.
In addition to beach trips, the campaign also would include a billboard in parks and in restaurants and shops.
The beach board is also considering a “Summer of Awesome” promotion for the summer, including free admission to beaches and outdoor activities.
Rau is seeking $1 million to help offset the cost of the campaign, with the money from a bond issue that could be raised through a tax on tourism.
The effort comes as Haslam announced the creation of a task force to help create an “alternative tourism” policy.
Haslam said the task force would include local business leaders, tourism officials, the governor and tourism officials from across the state.