North American journalists experience adventure in America’s Secret City
Travel writers from across North America were in Oak Ridge on Thursday, researching interesting stories to help promote tourism to the area. With a focus on outdoor adventure and heritage tourism, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development partnered with the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with surrounding tourism organizations, to host the group.
The team of 17 journalists spent the first day of spring with local experts in heritage tourism and outdoor recreation. Each writer had the opportunity to ask many questions while experiencing both the natural beauty of Oak Ridge and the importance the city plays in scientific and technological discovery. Due to the excellent presentations given at each of the stops on the tour, all journalists left with a newfound love and appreciation for the exciting tourism opportunities Oak Ridge has to offer.
“Working with our partners in the capital and around East Tennessee helps Oak Ridge leverage our exposure in larger markets and reach out to broader audiences,” said Katy Brown, executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We rely heavily on our tourism partners in Oak Ridge as we roll out the red carpet for these visiting writers.”
Participating writers spent time in the scenic outdoors, kayaking on Melton Lake and hiking in Haw Ridge Park, and taking a condensed version of the U.S. Department of Energy public tour. The American Museum of Science and Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12’s New Hope Center, Friends of Haw Ridge, and Adventures Outdoors served as hosts for the writers, along with the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Writers from various media such as AAA Living, AAA Southern Traveler, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, Scripps Howard News Service, Highways Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, and more attended the tour, visiting more than two dozen sites throughout the East Tennessee Region. Oak Ridge was included as part of the Top Secret Trail, a Discover Tennessee’s Trail and Byways initiative put together by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
“Editorial pieces in various news media always provide a larger market share than just advertising alone,” Brown said. “Our ultimate goal is to reach as many potential visitors as possible. We’ve seen great success through the years with events such as these. Writers often generate several stories from their visit here, providing us with a great impact for years to come.”
The ORCVB is the local tourism authority, formed to strengthen the area economy through marketing and promotion of Oak Ridge as a destination for meetings, business, and leisure travel. Visit www.oakridgevisitor.com or call (865) 482-7821 for more information.