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Ticket to tourism
BU - The Mavericks
Cumberland Caverns has become a notable concert venue, attracting bands like The Mavericks, pictured above.

With natural beauty flowing, music resonating, and culture oozing, Warren County can attract tourists from across the United States.

To make this happen, members of our Tourism Development Board say the next crucial step is to create a photo and video library featuring community events and highlighting tourism assets with regular social media management.

With this goal in mind, photographer Ian Riley has presented a marketing content proposal to the seven-member board.

“The goal would be to create content to speak to the target audience of who you’re trying to draw in to spend their money and time in McMinnville and Warren County,” said Riley during a meeting at the Chamber Community Room. “These are the three main categories we have identified: young professionals, retirees and young families with kids.”

Riley believes McMinnville offers an authenticity that’s not available in places such as Nashville. He believes he can hone in on this with his photography to showcase the best of what the South has to offer.

Riley said his images would allow potential visitors to visualize themselves in McMinnville, whether sitting in a kayak floating the Barren Fork River, or at a yoga session at Isha.

Said Riley, “Good content isn’t about good storytelling. It’s about telling a true story well. McMinnville and Warren County have a wonderful story. It just needs to get out there and be told and I think it’s going to make a good first impression."

Riley continued, "If you’re looking for a travel destination, you’re not going to want to go somewhere that looks cheesy, but by using high-quality marketing materials, it’s going to be speaking to the Nashville crowd and other visitors.”

Riley presented his rates for marketing and event shoots, along with samples from previous work. For a full day mar-keting shoot, $1,250 to $1,075. For a half day rate, $800 to $695. His hourly rate is $250 to $200, with three hours mini-mum.

“For something like Ian’s project, I would typically put it in appropriations, and so that’s something I would need an answer on in the next couple of months,” said Mandy Eller, Chamber of Commerce president. “With appropriations, typically what that is, we request that and the money goes back out for marketing, for print ads, for conferences and for any kind of marketing we’re doing for tourism.”

There was also a brief discussion about the potential development of the Blue Building as a hotel by a development group, along with the need to set a timeline on this request from the developer. However, several members voiced their concern as they had yet to receive a letter of credit from this group and believe the board should pursue other options. That decision will be made at the next meeting.

This was the first official public meeting for the Tourism Development Board.