FRANKLIN, TN – Historic Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee has signed on as the first participating destination with Heritage Travel, Inc., a new subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Launching in early 2009, Heritage Travel, Inc. will provide extensive online visibility for historic destinations, including Franklin, as well as a professional forum where destinations can network and share best practices. Travelers will have a one-stop travel planning resource and an online community where people can find, share and connect through heritage-rich interests and experiences.
Heritage Travel will provide global exposure for thousands of participating destinations via an interactive, web-based platform reaching millions of heritage travelers. The site will offer Web 2.0 opportunities in social media, RSS feeds, blogs, podcasts and video and has a substantial annual advertising budget. Heritage destinations must meet standards in the areas of preservation, presentation and promotion to ensure a positive and authentic experience for visitors. Participating destinations will include: cities and towns; downtowns and neighborhoods; historic sites, museums and experiences; bed & breakfasts and heritage events such as historic re-enactments, music festivals, ethnic celebrations, cultural events, etc.
“Our community has enjoyed a strong partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation for many years,” said Mark Shore, executive director for the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Continuing that partnership through the new Heritage Travel program will allow us to showcase the unique history, culture and heritage of Historic Franklin and Williamson County. This program is a perfect match for us considering our special blend of historic buildings, civil war history, epicurean lifestyle, preserved scenic open spaces and a vibrant downtown main street.”
The market trends for heritage and cultural travel are strongly positive. The Travel Industry Association estimated the combined market for heritage and cultural tourism in the United States at 118 million travelers. Subsequent research by PhoCusWright estimated the market for heritage travel alone at approximately $70 billion per year domestically, with 80 million travelers.
“We didn’t undertake this effort without first doing our homework,” said John Williams, president and CEO of Heritage Travel, Inc. “For two years we researched and evaluated the heritage travel market. It was evident we could help destinations increase revenue and exposure to heritage-minded travelers, serve today’s consumers with a search-based, highly-interactive website with rich content and support the strategic objectives of the National Trust for Historic Preservation all at the same time.”
The Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (WCCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for Williamson County and Franklin Tennessee, located “100 Years” and a few miles south of Nashville. The WCCVB promotes the Williamson County area, city of Franklin and local historic assets including the “Great American Main Street” experience to visitors from across the state, the US and worldwide. For additional information on all the exciting activities in Franklin and Williamson County, please go to www.VisitWilliamson.com.
Heritage Travel Inc. is a new, online community showcasing the broad range of heritage destinations, sites, venues and events that define our collective past and enrich our lives. Heritage Travel provides a one-stop travel planning resource for heritage and cultural travelers; an online community where people can find and share heritage-rich experiences and a professional forum where destinations can network and share best practices. Heritage Travel is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information go to www.heritagetravelinc.com .