Want to boot-scoot in Nashville? Or hike Mt. LeConte in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Well, the state of Tennessee is about to make your dreams a lot easier to achieve. The state recently launched a 'Tennessee on Me' initiative to give visitors $250 in digital gift cards from Delta Airlines, American Airlines or Southwest Airlines in order to travel to the Volunteer State this year. That's right, a free flight for anyone who wants to live like Elvis in Memphis.
Tourism is the state’s second largest industry, and after a slow 2020, hotels, museums, bars, live music venues, and amusement parks want everyone to know they are open again for business. The state even released a goofy video with country megastar and Tennessee resident Brad Paisley, who wrote a song about the giveaway with Governor Bill Lee. “I’m more excited than ever that live music is back in Tennessee – and bigger than ever,” Paisley said in a statement.
Here’s the deal: You must book a two-night minimum stay at one of 60 participating hotels around the state. At least one night of the stay must be between Sunday and Wednesday. You pick from one of four major Tennessee cities – Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga or Knoxville – plus your hotel and airline. You have to book your trip between now and September 15, 2021, and you must travel between July 11 and December 30, 2021. You also have to book through TennesseeOnMe.com.
Participating hotels include: Nashville’s luxury Joseph, Memphis’s cool Central Station (which is inside a retrofitted train station), and Chattanooga’s new Kinley Chattanooga Southside. Hotel packages must be paid for in advance and are non-refundable.
The state hopes to give away 10,000 digital gift cards. The $2.5 million initiative is not without critics, some feel the state should be investing those funds in other priorities for residents rather than visitors. But others are excited about travel being top of mind again.
The airline vouchers are good for the state’s four major airports, but visitors are encouraged to road trip to other areas, from the bluffs of the Mississippi to the Great Smoky Mountains to the whitewater of the Ocoee.
Planning an adventure this summer? Airbnb is looking for 12 people to spend a year travelling around its properties for free.