Could 'Tennessee On Me' tourism campaign give local businesses a boost?

Posted at 10:58 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 09:30:01-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s billed as a chance for tourists to get a chance to experience Tennessee at a discount, but it’s on the taxpayer's dime.

Gov. Bill Lee announced the “Tennessee On Me” tourism campaign this week.

For a store based around the outdoors, the folks at Bink's Outfitters in Franklin are happy to have some foot traffic come indoors.

They say big festivals like the upcoming Main Street Festival will bring in the business they've been missing out on this past year.

"We had to shut down because of COVID, and last year's Main Street didn't happen, and that's a big revenue thing for us," said Gunner Martin with Bink's Outfitters. "So having it back this year is really exciting, we're really looking forward to it."

It's that kind of business Governor Lee is trying to drum up with a new tourism campaign, Tennessee On Me, where Tennessee will pay up to $250 in airfare for 10,000 people to come visit -- but not directly to smaller cities like Franklin. The offer applies only to hotel stays in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Tennessee's own lieutenant governor is distancing himself from the campaign, saying "It makes little sense to limit the promotion to those cities when our rural areas were hit as hard, if not harder, by the economic crisis."

As for Binks, they're looking forward to a boost of their own from folks a little closer to home, tourism deal or not.