The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association honored the tourism industry’s top performers last Thursday during the 21st Annual Pinnacle Awards at Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport as part of National Travel & Tourism Week.
Presented by Bristol Motor Speedway and produced in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett was on hand to deliver the keynote address as the top performers who contribute to tourist related community and economic development in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region were honored.
The organization saw a record number of 52 entries in categories for Marketing, Advertising & Promotions, Public Relations, as well as Best New Event, Festival of the Year and individual achievement awards such as Partner of the Year, Rising Star and Tourism Leader of the Year.
Ranked by a panel of judges within the tourism and advertising industry associated with the Southeast Tourism Society, Pinnacle Awards were given to the top entry in each category.
Brenda Whitson of the Johnson City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was named the Tourism Leader of the Year, and the JCCVB was recognized in several different categories when the awards were handed out. The U.S. Women’s Disc Golf Championship, which was held at Winged Deer Park last fall, was named Best New Event while the Tweetsie Trail was honored as the Attraction of the Year. The JCCVB was also honored for a variety of marketing and advertising materials.
Tourism is the second largest economic driver in Tennessee, with Northeast Tennessee generating more than $800 million in direct tourist spending, more than $170 million in payroll while employing nearly 6,700 people, and generating more than $25 million in local sales tax receipts annually.
The Town of Jonesborough was also honored as the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange Radio Series won an award for Best Festival or Event.