A tourism marketing campaign involving free flight vouchers is hitting some turbulence in Tennessee. On Monday, Tennessee Governor Invoice Lee introduced a plan to provide away 10,000 vouchers for airline journey to Tennessee when booked together with a lodge keep within the state. It’s a tidy little bit of enterprise for airways that fly into the state, however critics say the scheme is misguided.
Governor Invoice Lee offers Tennessee tourism a lift
Tennessee’s tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit laborious by the journey downturn. Guests to Tennessee spent US$23 billion in 2019, supporting 195,000 jobs. Final yr, customer numbers almost halved. Nashville alone misplaced roughly $4 billion in customer spending.
In March 2020, plane actions by way of Tennessee’s largest airport, Nashville Worldwide (BNA) dived. By early Might 2020, plane actions have been round 72% on the earlier Might. Whereas plane motion numbers did start to enhance, they remained 20% – 30% beneath comparable 2019 ranges for the rest of 2020.
In mid-2021, Tennessee continues to expertise the hangover impact of the downturn. Invoice Lee’s thought is to provide away 10,000 $250 flight vouchers in a stimulus marketing campaign value $2.5 billion.
“The state’s shopping for all these airline tickets and giving them away to anyone who books two nights in a lodge room to return to Tennessee, so it’s ‘Tennessee on me,’” Lee mentioned in a video posted to social media.
Tennessee is thought around the globe for its music, scenic magnificence & iconic sights, and I am excited to staff up with @BradPaisley to advertise @TNVacation. 10k airline vouchers are up for grabs when vacationers e book a visit to Tennessee. Study extra at https://t.co/gTUps7pffx. https://t.co/Gfdw5dG8tT
— Gov. Invoice Lee (@GovBillLee) July 4, 2021
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A welcome little bit of enterprise for 3 US airways
American Airways, Delta Air Strains, and Southwest Airways are the taking part airways. Vacationers eyeing a $250 voucher must e book and pay for at least two nights in one in all 60 taking part accommodations in Tennessee. Flights should land in Chattanooga (CHA), Knoxville (TYS), Memphis (MEM), or Nashville (BNA). Eligible journey dates are July 11 to December 30, 2021. Bookings should be made through Tennessee’s Go to Music Metropolis web site.
At BNA, Might 2021 noticed the airport deal with 19,029 plane actions and 1,388,451 passengers, considerably up on the 7,509 plane actions and 201,656 passengers in Might 2020. Southwest Airways swamps each American and Delta when it comes to nonstop flights to Nashville, providing round 4 occasions the variety of nonstop routes into BNA than the 2 full-service airways.
It’s a extra even enjoying discipline at Memphis Worldwide Airport. In Might 2021, American Airways flew 74,558 passengers to or from MEM. Delta Air Strains flew 71,312 passengers to or from the airport, and Southwest Airways flew 75,425 passengers to or from Memphis. Southwest’s footprint, specifically, is much smaller at Memphis than Nashville.
Invoice Lee’s voucher scheme has each detractors and supporters
Governor Lee’s voucher scheme isn’t uncommon. A number of jurisdictions worldwide have provided free or backed flights to spice up spending in sure sectors of the financial system. The voucher schemes aren’t good – there may be at all times some leakage and abuse. Nonetheless, they often do job of boosting customer site visitors (and spending) in focused areas.
That hasn’t stopped critics of Invoice Lee’s Tennessee On Me marketing campaign from talking out.
“This isn’t the governor’s cash. That is taxpayers’ cash,” says Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson.
“It’s particularly troubling that the promotion is restricted to our main cities,” mentioned Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally. “Our rural areas have been hit as laborious, if not tougher, by the financial disaster than these cities.”
However Invoice Lee additionally has supporters of his stimulus bundle. Tennessee’s Tourism Workplace spokesperson informed native media the initiative was a collaborative effort, with Tennessee’s cities persevering with to really feel the ache from misplaced conference, enterprise, and worldwide vacationers.
Whereas Tennessee’s politicians squabble over the deserves of the stimulus bundle, Delta, American, and Southwest will fortunately financial institution Invoice Lee’s checks. Tennessee’s accommodations, eating places, and bars will even recognize the additional enterprise.
Are you a fan of those sorts of stimulus packages? Would you fly to Tennessee in trade for a $250 flight voucher? Put up a remark and tell us.