NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development anticipates continued industry momentum in 2016 as tourism partners throughout the state open new attractions, expand current properties and celebrate major milestones.
The new tourism assets strengthen the brand promise to provide vacation experiences that are part of the “Soundtrack of America – Made in Tennessee.”
Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel Distillery turns 150. America’s oldest registered distillery and the world’s best-selling whiskey is one of Tennessee’s most iconic destinations. The milestone anniversary celebration kicked off on New Year’s Eve and continues throughout the year in Lynchburg and around the world.
In March, Dollywood opens the season with Lightning Rod, the world’s fastest wooden coaster. The $22 million ride, themed after a tricked out 1950’s era hot rod, launches from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill. Dollywood, located in the Smoky Mountain town of Pigeon Forge, is Tennessee’s No. 1 most-visited manmade attraction.
The Guest House at Graceland in Memphis set to open in fall 2016 with a star-studded grand-opening celebration. Located just a few steps from the gates of Elvis’ Graceland, the 450-room resort will feature a Southern colonial exterior with specialty suites designed by Priscilla Presley, two restaurants, meeting space, and a 464-seat theater for live performances and movies.
The state will celebrate a national milestone August 25, 2016 as the National Park Service turns 100 with 14 locations in Tennessee affiliated with the National Park Service, including America’s most visited National Park – the Great Smoky Mountains.
An abbreviated list of what is not to be missed for 2016 includes:
• the song “Chattanooga Choo Choo” turns 75 and will be celebrated in the Scenic City.
• the $22.5 million youth baseball complex Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge opens this spring.
• the Titanic Museum Attraction presents Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley’ recovered violin runs from June 5-Aug. 14.
• on Sept. 10, Bristol Motor Speedway will become a world-class football stadium for the inaugural Battle at Bristol between Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee.
• the CMA Awards celebrates 50 years in 2016.
• Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame at Municipal Auditorium will soon house an 8,500-square-feet Grammy Museum gallery and historic landmark designation.
• the Big River Crossing opening late 2016 will be the world’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River and connects downtown Memphis with Arkansas.