The Great Smoky Mountains Sustainable Tourism Summit is April 28 and 29. It is a partnership effort of the states of Tennessee and North Carolina and the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, The University of Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Association.
The Summit, designed to honor the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will show community leaders how maintaining a community’s historical, cultural and environmental authenticity will stimulate and support their region’s economic growth in tourism.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will present the keynote luncheon address. Other speakers are Gov. Phil Bredesen, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Executive Director of Tourism Lynn Minges, Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America, and Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is to create and promote travel to and within Tennessee, to develop programs to encourage and support the growth of the state’s tourism industry, to manage a system of welcome centers that provides visitors with a positive impression of Tennessee and to encourage them to extend their stay, all of which contributes to the state’s economic growth, thereby enriching the quality of life for every Tennessean.