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With all the recent discussion on tourism, Chuck Campbell’s article in (a recent) Sunday Knoxville News Sentinel (issue) was very refreshing. He states that even personal finance site WalletHub is impressed with the Knoxville area. His headline was “Knoxville ranked a top U.S. travel destination.” It ranks Knoxville No. 20 of the top 100 U.S. metro areas.

The report used 40 metrics to drill down to six overall categories. The one that caught my eye concerned travelers that drive to their destinations. Knoxville was ranked No. 2 in the U.S. for local cost with the primary factors being local cost of living, rates for three-star hotel rooms and the average price of a two-person meal.

This is very encouraging, as we know that I-40/I-75 travelers have a choice of where they stay overnight. We believe that the development of a strong tourism program, anchored by a new commitment from our nine hotels, will give the results we want – more heads in beds, forks in hand and retail sales dollars.

No one can accurately predict the future, but as always, we try to make the right decisions about what is best for all of Farragut. With such an erratic political climate, it’s easy to be cautious about investing in a tourism program. But if we don’t take a chance now and work hard to make it successful, the opportunity may never present itself again.

Now is the time to put differences aside and work together toward the smart growth vision that was developed during the Town’s Strategic Planning sessions.