Sycamore Shoals, Off the Grid highlighted in state tourism magazine

Published 9:46 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

Carter County and Elizabethton continue to put skin in the game when it comes to the tourism economy in Tennessee.

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development recently launched the 2018 Tennessee Vacation Guide this month and Carter County received some notoriety with two spots receiving love in the report.

According to information provided by the Department, Carter County’s Off the Grid Mountain Adventures and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park were recognized among the thousands of other tourist destinations highlighted in the magazine.

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Carter County helped prove an extra bit of firepower when it comes to highlighting what the state has to offer, according to Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett.

“We have five pillars that we focus on in sharing with the world what our great state has to offer its guests: scenic beauty, history, family, outdoors and, of course, music. Every city, every county, every destination in Tennessee falls under one or all of these pillars. As one of our top marketing tools, the 2018 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide celebrates each of these and what Carter County has to offer,” Triplett said in an emailed statement to the Elizabethton Star.

The vacation guide is available free of charge at any of the state’s 15 welcome centers or by calling 1-800-GO2-TENN (462-8366) or can be ordered or downloaded online at while a digital version of the guide is also available.

The community has been able to reap the rewards of the marketing tool, said Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce Director Tonya Stevens.

“One of the great things about the magazine is that it allows people to ask for more information about a specific area. For Carter County, we typically send out 200 to 300 requests to people wanting to know more about what we have to offer. And that’s just from the magazine,” Stevens said Thursday. “So on top of what is already being promoted in the magazine, like Sycamore Shoals and Off the Grid, we’re able to showcase more of what we have to offer to people.”

According to the 2016 economic impact report provided by the state’s Department of Tourist Development, Carter County ranked 40th out of 95 counties in the state by generating $37.14 million in tourism expenditures, 210 jobs and combining for $4.70 million in revenue ($2.38 million in local tax revenue and $2.32 in state tax revenue).

Having a growing presence in tourism is key in a variety of aspects, Stevens said. Along with the revenue generated, she added that it helps bolster up the tax base.

“We typically receive a little bit of a blurb in the magazine, so we’re excited to see the area receive a little bit more recognition,” Stevens said. “We’re excited about what’s going on in the community. We’ve been able to make the right connections with business and other contacts in the tourism industry and we’re hoping to continue that by bringing in new businesses, like Off the Grid, to give our residents and visitors alike something enjoyable to do.”

Another key tourism element for the Chamber is the annual Covered Bridge Celebration, which is already going into a preparation phase for 2018, Stevens said.

To stay up to date with happenings across Carter County, visit the Chamber or visit their website or Facebook page for more information.