It has always been a challenge here at DeKalb Tourism to distinguish our area of northeast Alabama and the Lookout Mountain attractions from Chattanooga and the Lookout Mountain attractions in Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.
Nearly every day someone will come in our information center thinking they are already in Tennessee. They see Lookout Mountain signs as they drive up I-59 and get confused because somewhere along the way they learned to associate Lookout Mountain with Chattanooga Tennessee. It is easy to understand this since one of our nation’s most prolific outdoor advertising is for See Rock City and Ruby Falls. These same billboards say Lookout Mountain Tennessee on them, even though Rock City is actually in Georgia.
We have felt for a long time that we had the potential of increasing tourism to our area by finding a way to attract our Chattanooga friends to make a trip further south on Lookout Mountain. The trick is to promote our attractions, shopping, eating and lodging in a way that attracts our potential visitor to a weekend leisurely vacation to our area. Some of the attractive selling points is the fact we are a short inexpensive drive to get out of traffic and into a more leisurely environment of less crowded scenic venues, restaurants, B&B’s, cabins, campgrounds and hotels. We promote via the idea of getting away from it all but not having to travel far to do it.
This year we have a booth at Chattanooga Riverbend Festival. This nine day event is heavily attended and gives us an opportunity to clarify who we are and why patrons should consider us for a vacation. Our booth at Riverbend is a partnership with Lookout Mountain Parkway Association, DeKalb Tourism and Etowah Tourism. This gives us the opportunity to speak to our visitors at the booth and review all the aspects of our areas. This way we can help them plan their vacation. We have brochures for Sequoyah Caverns, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Noccalula Falls, Lookout Mountain Parkway, DeSoto State Park, High Falls Park and Bucks Pocket as well as information about our rental cabins, B&B’s, campgrounds, hotels, shopping, restaurants, museums, antiques and flea markets, Worlds Longest Yard Sale and Antique Alley. We cover the arts, music and crafts. The key is getting to talk to our potential visitors and finding out what they like to do and what their specific interests are. At that point we can customize a set of brochures to fit their needs. Now that we have a mobile website many people can have a more detailed look at us while standing there at our booth. Riverbend Festival is currently underway and goes through this Saturday.