Tennessee Tourism Tab: $ 2.5 Million For Airline Vouchers | State


(The Center Square) – On the day Brad Paisley performed in front of a huge crowd in downtown Nashville to celebrate July 4th, he also joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee in launching a new tourism campaign, “Tennessee on me. “

The promotion, which the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development said was paid for with $ 2.5 million set aside for tourism in the new state budget, offers a $ 250 airline voucher to anyone which reserves a two-night stay in one of the four cities of Tennessee, with some stipulations.

“The state buys all these plane tickets and gives them to anyone who books two nights in a hotel room to come to Tennessee,” Gov. Bill Lee told Paisley in the announcement of the new program, posted on Sunday at YouTube and social networks. canals. “So maybe it should be Tennessee on Governor Lee.”

The agreement requires a visitor to book at least a two-night stay, including Sunday through Wednesday night, at a designated hotel in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville or Chattanooga. Forty-eight hours after payment for the stay, participants will receive a $ 250 voucher for American Airlines, Delta Airlines or Southwest Airlines to travel to an airport in one of these four cities.

Not everyone was happy that the state was spending taxpayer money on promotion.

Lee denies food aid – denies salary increases for teachers – DCS employees drown in cases, opioid-related deaths skyrocket, gun violence higher than ever – TANF funds have been banked [and] not distributed – and he has the audacity to use our funds to buy 4woo-girls WOW! – the muted tone is nice, ”tweeted Senator Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville.

The deal began on Monday and must be booked by September 15, with the total number of airfare vouchers capped at 10,000. Travel is scheduled to take place between July 11 and December 31 of this year.

“Tennessee is known the world over for its music, scenic beauty and iconic attractions,” Lee said in a press release. “We’re ready for people to come back to Tennessee ‘on me’, to enjoy statewide live music created by our talented musicians and songwriters like Brad Paisley.”

The department said tourism is the state’s second-largest industry, generating $ 23 billion in domestic and international travel spending in 2019, which resulted in $ 1.92 billion in national and local tax revenue.

“Tourism is vital to restoring the state’s economic health and recovery and this campaign will help fuel travel and visitor spending in the state,” a press release from the department said.

Some opponents of the tourism plan cited on Saturday was the last day Tennessee was still part of the federal plan to fight unemployment in the event of a pandemic. Residents of Tennessee are no longer eligible for the weekly federal allowance of $ 300 for unemployment that runs through September 6.

The two funds, however, are not directly related as tourism funding came from the state budget and federal pandemic relief came from federal funds.

“I’m going to hope you didn’t know he cut the lifeline of unemployment to so many [Tennessee] families who have no idea how they will eat or pay the rent afterwards [July 3] while giving money to those outside our state, ”Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, tweeted to Paisley in response to her tweet about the campaign.

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