Dollywood -100 million dollar investment, 10 million tourists.
The 2014 through 2020 tourism dollar battle is being wooed and won in Tennessee. 2014 is exploding as a stellar year for state officials in Tennessee in forging their 21st Century plan for a new type of aggressive tourism.
This Tennessee Strategic Tourism Plan has two basic components: (1) private partnership funding and (2) new enhanced state-local partnerships.
So far in 2014, private partnerships for funding historical and cultural heritage tourism have been very strong. Private public partnerships include: (1) the Discovery Park in Union City, (2) Dolly Parton WaterWorld in Nashville, and (3) Dolly Parton New Pigeon Forge theme park.
In each of the above projects, the State of Tennessee works to coordinate or construct roads, utility lines, and landscaping to help finalize the end project.
This means millions of dollars from the state to help locate and construct these new theme parks for Tennessee.
Over 100 million dollars of private money has been committed to the Discovery Park in Union City. Fifty acres will be developed for history and local regional cultural heritage theme park. This will become one of the largest tourism parks in West Tennessee, some 18 miles away from the Tennessee-Kentucky state line.
Another 100 million private tourism funding is headed for Nashville. Dolly Parton is planning to design and build a world class Water World in the region of Nashville.
Dolly Parton is planning to commit 300 million to totally revamp her Dollywood Theme Park. Over 10 million tourists each year visit this theme park city at Pigeon Ford, Tennessee. As Dollywood is rebuild, new private partners are coming into the overall grand tourist plan. Case in point is Paula Deen.
After her major media meltdown as the Queen of Kitchen for Wal-Mart and other important retail outlets, Paula Deen is fighting her way back into the cooking world prime time. A new corporate group is backing Deen for her image as the Queen of the Kitchen. They are pouring $20 million dollars into a 20,000 square foot restaurant in the new Dollywood theme park.
All of this new attention to large scale Tennessee tourism is creating a new corridor from the Mississippi River over to the Great Smoky Mountains. This will roughly follow I-40 from just north of Memphis to Knoxville.
Meanwhile, the State of Kentucky has no plans for any large scale tourism theme park in any part of West or Southern Kentucky. In fact, there is no Kentucky Strategic Tourism Plan for the future. In the tourism world Kentucky and her state parks are acting as if the year was 1980.