‘Tennessee on Me’ tourism campaign flops

 Wednesday, November 17, 2021 


A controversial tourism program isn’t seeing the success some Tennessee lawmakers were hoping for.

The program budgeted $2.5 million for vouchers for up to 10,000 people. The state also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote it.

Was it worth the investment?

The program earmarks taxpayer dollars to give plan ticket vouchers to tourists who book a hotel stay in Tennessee’s major cities. The vouchers allow tourists to fly anywhere—not just the Volunteer State.

The state anticipated 10,000 people would take up the governor on his offer to come to Tennessee “on him.” But data from the state Department of Tourism shows numbers far from that.

This comes after the state budgeting an additional $270,000 in promotional ads for the program, including $11,000 for social media influencers.

The tourism department says they paid a network to reach out to popular Tennessee-centered bloggers.

Campbell (D-Nashville) is one of several lawmakers who have opposed the program since its announcement.

But Gov. Lee and state tourism leaders still stand by the program.

The state has shilled out more than $500,000 worth of vouchers so far. Any unused money will return to the state tourism budget.

“Tennessee on Me” was initially slated to end it September.

A spokesperson for the state tourism office tells us it’s been extended until late December. They are reportedly hearing from hotels struggling to fill rooms, particularly during the week.

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