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Knoxville Tourism And Sports Corporation

KTSC Wins the Cheerful Award

Dr. Elinor Garely, eTN  Apr 27, 2011

I am proudly wearing my Knoxville medal acknowledging my third visit to this charming city. It is not unusual for people to travel to New York and London repeatedly, and now it is trendy to schedule multiple visits to Knoxville.

Gotta Know Knoxville
Mathematicians and scientists clock many trips to this charming locale if they work for the Department of Defense, while others stop for a few days in order to dip into East Tennessee history and music on their way to/from Pigeon Fork and Dollywood, and football fans grab up all available accommodations during Vols/University of Tennessee football weekends.

Wheels Required
Public transportation brings visitors to and from the downtown streets where a small and intimate atmosphere provides a low-key setting that encourages visitors to meander through business and residential neighborhoods. For seekers of original art, sculpture, jewelry, furniture (i.e., Art Market Gallery), and casual dining (i.e., Tomato Head), and quick access to museums and theatres, the Knoxville town center has to be part of the “must do” list.

In fact, visitors are encouraged to stop at the KTSC visitors’ center at noon, Monday through Thursday, to listen to live East Tennessee music (courtesy of WDVX radio) while enjoying a light Blue Plate special lunch and then hitting the East Tennessee History Center and McClung Collection. For visits to historical homes (i.e., Mabry Hazen House Museum), forts, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Tennessee University campus, it is necessary to rent a car.

Famous Residents
Alex Haley, the American biographer and author of Roots is from Knoxville, as is Dolly Parton. The famous list also includes blues singer Bessie Smith, Pulp Fiction actor/director Quentin Tarantino, Dave Thomas of Wendy’s fame, and the Everly Brothers. Sports fans will be interested to know that Reggie White, of the Green Bay Packers NFL, and Chad Pennington, NFL star for the Miami Dolphins, are from Knoxville. This city is also famous because it is 20 miles south of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb. Followers of TV’s HGTV will be surprised to learn that the network originates in Knoxville and reaches over 92 million households.

Knoxville Cheerleader
The spirit of Knoxville is nurtured by Kim Paul Bumpas the Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at the Knoxville TSC (Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation). Bumpas acts as chief motivator for a high-energy team that is only too anxious to tell you about their love affair with their city (some by choice and others by birth).

Bumpas looks like she just won the Ms. Tennessee contest and stepped into the KTSC office on her way to cheerleading practice. SVP Bumpas is a marketing graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and spent her early career years with Holiday Inns and Hyatt. She transitioned to the KTSC in 2001 and quickly moved from Sales Manager to her current SVP position. She is a Certified Meeting Planner (CPM) and a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) and currently sits on the board of the Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau (TACVB), the Knoxville American Marketing Association, and the Knoxville Tourism Alliance. Bumpas is also a member of the Rotary Club of Knoxville.

With a sales background, Bumpas maintains a firm fix on the bottom-line, developing and maintaining group sales and special events that keeps hotels and restaurants chock full with visitors throughout the year. Although the last 4-years have been financially challenging and many tourist offices have worked with meager budgets, Knoxville has been able to maintain a healthy advertising campaign that includes print (convention: 46 percent; leisure: 20 percent), online (convention: 18 percent; leisure: 14 percent), and the Knoxville Visitor Center (2 percent). Print publications include Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, as well as such trade publications as Meetings and Conventions, and Meetings South.

On the Radar Screen
Convention sales goals are intended to have a US$130 million economic impact of the city of Knoxville and Knox county. If you are into sports (30 percent), and enjoy hobbies (20 percent); have social, military, ethnic, religious and fraternal interests (20 percent), are involved in education (10 percent); the sciences (5 percent), and trade (5 percent), and/or participate in corporate meetings, bus tours, agriculture, government, health/medical, and environmental activities (10 percent) – you are likely to be on the Knoxville market target list.

Tactics for Tomorrow
In the Knoxville budget for 2011-201, Knoxville’s’ Mayor, Daniel T. Brown, includes funding an “energized downtown” that he identifies as “everybody’s neighborhood,” earmarking US$200,000 for sidewalks and US$1.2 million for streetscapes. The Knoxville Zoo, one of the most visited attractions in East Tennessee, is scheduled to receive US$300,000 for enhancements and US$100,000 for operating expenses. The Knoxville Tourism and Sports Development Corporation will also benefit from the Brown budget, as will the Knoxville Symphony, the Art Museum, and other arts and cultural centers.

What does Knoxville’s Tourism and Sports Corporation see for its future? Bumpas is moving the organization aggressively into digital services, offering support to MICE groups interested in driving their own marketing efforts. There are plans to increase the number of days that visitors stay in Knoxville by offering pre- and post-convention/meeting options. Many Knoxville organizations, arts, and cultural groups are linking together to promote the destination with one voice. The local Value Card is expected to generate additional tourist experiences by presenting opportunities to visit local tourism partners and rewarding visitors for their visit.

Team Knoxville
The KTSC is among the best organized CVBs responsible for attracting tourists to their destination. Clearly focused on the strengths of the destination, quick to identify the weaknesses while striving to make improvements and seizing opportunities without compromising quality, it is likely that in this competitive tourism environment, “ Team Knoxville” will champion their destination, embracing all visitors with their cheery dispositions, and bend-over-backwards attitude toward getting things done.

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KTSC Wins the Cheerful Award
Kim Paul Bumpas, Senior Vice President, Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp / Image via

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