At the regular quarterly meeting of the Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council (METTC), Carl Nichols, Claiborne County Director of Tourism, was appointed to fill the remaining term of the vice-presidency vacated by E.L. Morton upon his election as Campbell County Mayor.
METTC is a regional non-profit marketing organization, one of nine officially recognized by the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development. The purpose of METTC is to provide a forum for the travel industry in the 16-county region comprising the East Tennessee Development District (Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union) and to implement programs to attract more visitors to the region and to entice them to stay as long as possible. METTC also serves as a spokesman for the regional tourism industry, proclaiming to its beneficiaries both public and governmental at all levels the importance of travel to the economy and public morale of the region, state and nation.
In the four years that Nichols has served as Claiborne County Director of Tourism he and the Claiborne County Tourism Commission have brought the White Lightning Trail Festival from a local event into the spotlight as a festival recognized by awards on both the state and Southeast Regional levels. For three consecutive years the White Lightning Trail Festival has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast. Mr. Nichols was also the recipient of the 2013 Chuck Davis Award for Outstanding Tourism Development.
Currently, Nichols said the Claiborne County Tourism Commission is working on several projects designed to bring travelers to Claiborne County and give Claiborne County the recognition as a vacation and adventure destination. Some of these projects include: Promoting fishing tournaments on Norris Lake, getting the Powell River nationally designated as a Blue Way Trail, creating the 2017 Battle of Tazewell Civil War Festival, promoting the Tackett Creek ATV Trails, reviving the Great Claiborne County Chili Cook-Off, Art, Craft and Antiques event, producing the 2016 Powell River Canoe and Kayak Regatta and bringing Folk-life entertainment to the 2017 White Lightning Trail Festival.
When asked about his appointment to the vice-presidency of METTC, Nichols stated, “I am honored and humbled to have been selected by the METTC organization to serve as its vice-president. When I was hired as the county’s director of tourism I knew little about the importance of tourism upon our county. I quickly saw the magnitude of the tourism industry and realized that Claiborne County has much to offer. Through the commission’s connection with METTC we hope to market Claiborne County and county events throughout the state and nation thus bringing much needed tourism dollars that will greatly impact the economy of our county.”