Adventure tourism is one of the hottest industries in the country and the world. To capitalize on this growing trend, Tennessee passed the Tennessee Adventure Tourism and Rural Development Act of 2011 in hopes to incentivize adventure tourism businesses to invest and create jobs in districts planned all across the state.
Tennessee’s abundance of natural resources makes it an ideal setting to support this segment of the tourism industry. The act allows qualified businesses that locate within a certified district to earn a jobs tax credit to offset a portion of the business’ Tennessee franchise and excise tax liability. Qualified businesses may include restaurants, hotels, or other tourist related attractions.
“I began the process in February and over the next few months required resolutions from each of the cities where the district resides, as well as the county. They all passed unanimously,” said Pam May, vice president of The Roane Alliance. “Roane County has so many natural resources ideal for adventure tourism—more than 700 miles of shoreline, bluffs, and vistas on the plateau, and a large number of Wildlife Management Areas—just to name a few.”
On August 3, Roane County received an approval letter from Commissioner Randy Boyd, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, “declaring the four districts that we submitted in April certified,” May said.
“Now being able to offer state-certified adventure tourism districts allows the county to use its geographical strengths in a way that could help generate job opportunities,” she said.
The four districts include Rockwood’s waterfront area including and surrounding Tom Fuller Park; Roane County Park and a large portion of the surrounding area, including Caney Creek and the Tamke-Allan Observatory; Riley Creek Campground; and Kingston’s entire waterfront, including parts of Ladd Landing all the way to Southwest Point. A district in Harriman received certification last year that included Riverfront Park all the way to the site of the Tennessee Medieval Faire.
In order to qualify the business must make a capital investment of at least $500,000 and create the required number of full-time jobs—for Roane County that is 25 jobs with minimum health care benefits. Additionally, businesses must complete a jobs tax credit business plan which must be submitted to the Department of Revenue.
To learn more about the program and to view the maps for each district visit www.RoaneTourism.com/Adventure.
The Roane Alliance is Roane County’s economic development organization and consists of both public and private organizations, including the Roane County Chamber of Commerce, the Roane County Industrial Development Board, and the Roane County Visitors’ Bureau. To learn more about how the Roane Alliance promotes economic development and seeks increased opportunities for all Roane County citizens, visit www.roanealliance.org.
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