Northeast Tenn. Tourism Clean-Up removes more than three tons of roadside litter

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association hosted a litter clean-up day on May 22 at four locations throughout the area. The first regional event of its kind joined area litter prevention and sustainable tourism partners with 50 volunteers to collect more than three tons of roadside litter, with approximately 150 bags of trash, furniture and tires.

Clean-up sites included Holston Mountain near Bristol, Buffalo Mountain in Johnson City, Highway 321 in Elizabethton, and E. Stone Drive in Kingsport. Additional partners included Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Keep Carter County Beautiful, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Honda of Kingsport, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute, Northeast Tennessee Outdoor Coalition, and Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership. 

“It was inspiring to see so many community groups and individuals come together in a true regional effort to clean up areas that make our area such a popular place to visit,” Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association Executive Director Alicia Phelps said. “As a tourism destination marketing organization, it is important that we use our platform to not only share the story and outdoor recreation opportunities of Northeast Tennessee, but to also protect, preserve, and educate”

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Northeast Tennessee outdoor recreation has increased since the pandemic began in 2020 as a popular hobby for locals, as well as for visitors.

“We hope to host this event annually, as it grows to cover even more areas in Northeast Tennessee,” Phelps said.

Tourism is the second largest economic driver in Tennessee, with Northeast Tennessee generating more than $911 million in direct tourist spending, more than $194 million in payroll while employing nearly 7,000 people, and generating more than $27 million in local sales tax receipts annually.

Tourism puts $911 million back into Northeast Tennessee each year

The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association was named the state’s 2019 Destination Marketing Organization of the Year with a mission to serve as a catalyst to enhance regional economic and community growth through the promotion and development of tourism. The organization was chartered in 1977, is a non-profit tourism promotion agency that serves and supports Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties in Tennessee, as well as portions of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee.