On Sunday, April 13th at 3 P.M., the Franklin Civil War Round Table will present Commissioner of Tourist Development Susan Whitaker, who will speak on the impact of heritage tourism in Tennessee.
As the co-chair of Tennessee’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Whitaker is a strategic part of the planning and overseeing of Tennessee’s 150th Civil War commemoration. In preparation for this Civil War milestone, Whitaker launched the Tennessee Civil War Trails Program, with markers in place at almost 300 sites and the goal to have a marker in every Tennessee county. The Commission also is responsible for the annual Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature events during the 150th commemoration.
As Commissioner, Whitaker is responsible for marketing Tennessee’s tourism industry domestically and internationally. Tourism is one of Tennessee’s largest industries, providing a $15.36 billion direct economic impact and generating more than $1 billion annually in state and local sales tax revenue for the past six years. Tennessee is now ranked 9th among all states in total travel.
Whitaker oversees the development and implementation of statewide tourism’s comprehensive marketing, publicity and promotions campaigns, all designed to stimulate growth of tourism in Tennessee.
Serving the State of Tennessee since her appointed in 2003 by Governor Phil Bredesen, Whitaker is a native of Chicago and a direct descendent of Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier. She also serves on the Civil War Trust Board of Trustees. Whitaker was named the 2013 National Tourism Director of the Year by the U.S. Travel Association’s National Council of State Travel Directors.