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Northwest Tennessee Tourism Summit Aims To Boost Rural Business

Discovery Park of America

Northwest Tennessee leaders in business, government and higher education came together on Tuesday for a summit on rural tourism at the Discovery Park of America. 

The Northwest Tennessee Tourism Works Summit brought together around 100 tourism and government stakeholders, including Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell, to discuss strategies for increasing tourism revenue in the region’s rural communities.

Mary Nita Bondurant is the Director of Marketing at the Discovery Park. She said rural tourism revenue shouldn’t benefit just one area, but that tourists are blind to county and state lines when they seek recreation opportunities.

“One of the lines we decided that needs to be blurred are the lines in between the states. Visitors really don’t care if they’re in Kentucky or if they’re in Tennessee,” Bondurant said. “There’s a larger circle around northwest Tennessee that absolutely includes western Kentucky, where we want tourists to enjoy all of the tourism assets that we have.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee identified tourism as a top priority for the year. According to the State of Tennessee, the tourism industry generated $22.02 billion in economic impact, $1.81 billion in state and local tax revenue and more than 189,757 tourism-related jobs in 2018.  

Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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