Beale Street in London? Tennessee Tourism targets United Kingdom with Jack Daniels and Elvis

By On June 06, 2018

Beale Street in London? Tennessee Tourism targets United Kingdom with Jack Daniels and Elvis

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The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is in midst of monthlong campaign to lure more United Kingdom visitors to the Volunteer State.

Brits have a chance to go walking in Memphis, sip Jack Daniel’s or take in the view from Clingman’s Dome over the next two weeks thanks to an interactive exhibit at London’s busiest train station.

Graceland, Beale Street, Sun Studio, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Blues Hall of Fame are among attractions featured in the “Sights & Sounds of Tennessee” Monday through June 18.

It’s Tennessee Tourism’s attempt to double down on an already rich source of visitors to the Volunteer State, following the May launch of British Airways’ new London-Nashville nonstop.

Waterloo station’s 275,000 daily commuters can stand on a giant map of Tennessee and listen to soul, country, blues, rockabilly or bluegrass, or use a mobile device to view 360-degree images of attractions from the Great Smoky Mountains to Beale Street.


Elvis Presley fans flock to the FedExForum for ELVIS: The Wonder of You 40th Anniversary Concert.

The United Kingdom is the No. 2 source of international visitors to Memphis and Tennessee, behind Canada.

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More than 100,000 people visited Memphis from the UK in 2017, making it a significant and growing source of international visitors, according to research shared by the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Visitors from the United Kingdom are in love with Elvis and Memphis music, said Cindy Rooney, Memphis representative for Globus Cosmos, a seller of vacation packages. Rooney is the local contact for UK tour groups visiting Memphis as part of a multiweek vacation that also includes New Orleans and a cruise.

"They're all about Elvis. They love Elvis, all of them. They love to rock and roll. A lot of them love Sun Studio, and they love the history," Rooney added. "I think because Memphis is a smaller city, it's easier for them to get around."


Key travel executives from New Zealand an d Australia were in Memphis this week as part of a Southern familiarization tour organized by Brand USA, a national tourism agency that's at least nominally threatened by President Trump's proposed budget cuts.

VisaVue Travel reported a 2 percent year-over-year increase in UK visitation in 2017 and said 13.7 percent of all international Visa cardholders visiting Memphis were from the UK. UK visitors spent $5.1 million on Visa cards in Memphis in 2017.

“While this is what we are able to track, we believe the numbers are even stronger with inbound visitation from the UK,” Memphis bureau president Kevin Kane said.

“We have been working the European market for over 20 years with an office in the UK, and we currently have over 250 travel providers that feature a Memphis holiday program. Even with all this success in the United Kingdom, there is still incredible opportunity for further growth.”

Tourism bureaus in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxvi lle backed the London campaign, led by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, in partnership with BrandUSA.

The Waterloo installation is part of a monthlong campaign, “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee,” that also features happy hour tastings of Jack Daniel's, advertising and a Spotify partnership. Residents can scan a code posted to outdoor boards and listen to Tennessee music playlists crafted for Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville.

The campaign comes at a time when international travel in Tennessee is on the rise. Tourism Economics reported in May that Tennessee was the fastest-growing U.S. state for international visitors, with visitors up 11 percent year over year and 39 percent since 2012.

UK residents were "the largest percentage" of 245,000 Europeans visiting Tennessee in 2017, when 767,000 internationals visited the state, according to preliminary numbers from Tourism Economics, a Tennessee Tourism spokeswoman said.

The London campaign promotes Tennessee as birthplace of blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll and says the state has more musicians per capita than anywhere in the world.

“The UK is home to some of the world’s greatest travelers, many of whom have been coming to Tennessee for years to experience The Soundtrack of America and enjoy our Southern hospitality, great cities, rich history and beautiful outdoors,” said Kevin Triplett, state tourism commissioner.

“The new nonstop service aboard British Airways makes reaching Tennessee easier than ever, and the exhibit at Waterloo station will help us attract interest from even more visitors from across the Atlantic,” Triplett said in a news release.

Reach reporter Wayne Risher at (901) 529-2874 or

Graceland through the Years Fullscreen


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Buy Photo January 07, 2011 - Chilean Miner, Edison Pena is famously a fan of Elvis Presley. Pena performs his best Elvis move while on his pilgrimage to Graceland. FullscreenBuy Photo Yvonne Lime, Hollywood starlet, and Elvis Presley looked lovey-dovey at each other Friday April 19, 1957 in front of Graceland, Elvis' new $100,000 mansion near Whitehaven. Miss Lime, who was visiting for the Easter holidays, had a small part in "Loving You," Elvis' second motion picture which premiered July 9 of that year. Production had begun in mid-January and wrapped by mid-March. FullscreenBuy Photo August 12, 2005 - Elvis week is here once again and fans from across the world have descended upon Graceland to pay tribute to the King. Holding a cardboard cutout of Elvis Friday morning in the shops of Graceland are from left , Nadya (CQ) and Sonya (CQ) Djen(CQ), 32 old twin sisters from Paris, France. This was their 4th visit to Graceland. Their fan club alone has over 800 members in France, with 60 of them here this week. Elvis Presley Fullscreen Dr. Thomas D. Moore with one of his prized Herefords at Graceland in 1940; long before Elvis moved into the mansion. Dr. Moore built the famous mansion. Fullscreen January 8, 2008 - During the yearly birthday ceremony for Elvis fans Thursday morning marking what would have been The King's 74th birthday, Priscilla Presley introduces Max and Bandit, left, a pair of rescue horses that Graceland recently adopted. "Graceland is a living breathing home," says Presley, and she wants "to keep it the way Elvis left it," including the barn and horses that were a part of life with Elvis Fullscreen August 15, 2005 - Mark Homdahl of North Dakota sings along with Elvis songs during the 2005 Candlelight Vigil outside the gates of Graceland. Fullscreen Weeping Elvis Presley fans outside Graceland August 17, 1977. Police estimated that 50,000 - 100,000 fans turned out to pay their respects. FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2009 - Trisha Polinard, of Sante Fe, Texas, lights candles in the form of Elvis Presley's initials on Elvis Presley Boulevard just before the annual vigil for Presley began. This was Polinard's seventh consecutive year at Elvis Week, which her family makes a vacation out of. It was her first year attending with out her mother, Patsy Valdez, who "is in heaven with Elvis." Elvis Presley died at Graceland on Aug. 16, 1977. FullscreenBuy Photo July 20, 2006 - Jerry Schilling first met Elvis in 1954 at the age of 12 years old. Schilling later went to work for Elvis at the age of 22, starting out as a gopher then bodyguard, later executive producing several of his movies. Schilling recently authored a memoir "Me and a Guy Named Elvis." Schilling ends the book with a scene of Elvis playing in the piano room at Graceland. FullscreenBuy Photo Elvis Presley at his piano inside Graceland in this 1965 photograph. Elvis had misgivings about allowing pictures to be made inside his home. "It's not that I don't want pictures," he said. "You know what I mean. Some people might think I am looking for publicity or trying to exploit my home. I certainly don't want anyone to think that." Fullscreen March 27, 2006 - Michael Pierri, 10, of Bloomington, IL joins other Elvis fans Monday morning as Graceland is officially designated as a National Hiistoric Landmark during a ceremony with Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Priscilla Presley. FullscreenBuy Photo February 23, 2006 - Dana Parker, 56, sits at the counter at the Rock 'N' Roll Cafe, at Graceland Crossing Thursday. Parker a regular at the cafe says he thinks that Robert Sillerman will enhance the image of Graceland. The Rock 'N' Roll Cafe leases its space from Elvis Presley Enterprises. CKX, Inc., Robert Sillerman's company, now owns the controlling interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises. In background is Rhonda Chavers. FullscreenBuy Photo May 27, 2011 - Elvis tribute artist Cody Slaughter, of Harrison Ark., fixes his h air before returning to the stage after checking out a 1957 Chevy BelAir, left, and a 1955 Chevy BelAir, right, during the Elvis Presley Car Show at Graceland friday afternoon. Fullscreen August 6, 2010 - Sisters Victoria Kinzel (left) and Anna Kinzel (right) both of Boston, take pictures with Elvis during a recent tour of Graceland. Elvis Week 2010 kicks off Tuesday with a variety of events through Monday, August 16. Fullscreen May 6, 2006 - Fans crowded near the gates of Graceland Saturday to get a glimpse of Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley and the American Idol finalists as they arrived at Graceland. Crowds cheered as Fox TV filmed them for the television show. Fullscreen July 19, 2006 - Israel scouts check out the results of a photo session during a tour of Gra celand Wednesday. The scouts are part of three Friendship Caravans that are touring the United States until August 21st to promote friendship between Israli and American youth. The youth were in the U.S. when hostilities broke out in the Middle East and Oriel said that " at first I was really freaked out but my family told me that they are OK and that life will go on". The students sait that they were more afraid of crime in Memphis and the US then they were over violence back home. After they return these three will finish their final year of high school and then spend 2 years in the military. FullscreenBuy Photo December 6, 2005 - Graceland employee Mark Anderson tidies up an area where a car accidently crashed into the stonewall surrounding the mansion at Graceland Tuesday morning leaving a big hole and a pile of "elvis rocks". Graceland is preserving the stones and will put the pieces back together as they were making the wall better than before. Weather permitting the wall should be repaired within the week. Fullscreen Elvis Presley posed with one of his cars outside Graceland in this photograph published March 7, 1965 in the first issue of Mid-South, the now-defunct Sunday magazine of The Commercial Appeal. Elvis complained of the long sessions with photographers making movie publicity stills: "I try to cut the time down to three or four hours, but sometimes you have to pose for six or eight. A man only has so many different smiles, and I don't have many." FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2003 - Lauren Hurst, 15, left, and her best friend Kim Arthur, 15, right, light candles outside of Graceland on Friday evening. The two are from Nashville and made the trip with Lauren's grandmother, Annette Lomeni ck and Kim's mother, Lisa Smallwood. Fullscreen August 13, 2007 - Don Rose,49, and his son Ray,7, stop for an interview at Graceland with Carey Ray Bun, from Outlaw Film Productions. Rose began his work as a tribute artist in 1978, and hasn't stopped since. His son has only been involved for four years. FullscreenBuy Photo May 24, 2007 - Thirty years after the death of Elvis Aaron Presley, visitors flock from around the world to visit Graceland. Officials expect a record turnout for this year's Elvis tribute week in August. FullscreenBuy Photo November 10, 2005 - This multi-tiered cake featuring a likeness of Graceland supported by guitars was created by Mike McCarey. It was one of four cakes created during a challenge by the Food Network. Fullscreen February 5, 2008 - Angie Marchese, Director of Archives at Graceland places an artist proof of a Tennessee license plate bearing the image and name of Elvis Presley on a 1956 Cadillac El Dorado during unveiling ceremonies Tuesday morning at Graceland. The new license plate bears an image of Elvis and the name of The Med's Elvis Presely Memorial Trauma Center. Purchases of the new plate will benefit The MED Foundation. FullscreenBuy Photo December 29, 2005 - The Memphis Mafia gave this Jesus statue to Elvis for his birthday. It currently resides in the meditation graden at Graceland. FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2006 - George Mills catches a nap as he waits in line at Graceland for the annual candlelight vigil marking the 29th anniversary of Elvis' de ath. He arrived at the spot Monday night along with others to get his place in line. The Memphis man has come to the event for the last six years in a row. FullscreenBuy Photo June 29, 2006 - Winnierika Chow from Malaysia takes pictures at Graceland Thursday. President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit there Friday. FullscreenBuy Photo January 4, 2011 - Brandon Keller (12) and Tori Keller (11), right, begin their tour at Graceland Wednesday morning. The eight members of the Keller family from Home, Kansas stopped at Graceland while on vacation. This year is the 30th anniversary of Graceland opening as a tourist attraction. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal) Fullscreen January 8, 2008 - Jack Soden, Priscilla Presley and chef Konrad Spitzbart cut Elvis' birthday cake on the grounds of Graceland to mark what would have been the rock and roller's 73rd birthday. The cake designed by Spitzbart, The Peabody Hotel's Executive Pastry Chef, stood three feet tall and featured a microphone and two guitar topper made of edible chocolate along with a collage of photos of the King. Priscilla's appearance marked the first time Elvis' former wife hosted the annual program. FullscreenBuy Photo August 11, 2003 - The Jungle room in Graceland is a testament to the whimsical nature of Elvis. He bought all of the furnishings for the "jungle room" in less than thirty minutes. He was in the mood for a little Hawaii. In 1975 Graceland was extensively refurbished while Elvis was dating Linda Thompson. The Jungle Room came to be in 1975. The Jungle room became a makeshift studio for Elvis on July 29th and 30th 1976. FullscreenBuy Photo May 24, 2007 - Curtis Hicks from Warren, MI, looks over the display at the Elvis After Dark Museum at the Graceland Crossing shopping complex. The display, featuring images and artifacts from Elvis' visit with Richard Nixon, is officially open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Thirty years after the death of Elvis Presley, visitors still flock from around the world to visit Elvis' former home. Officials expect a record turnout for this year's Elvis tribute week in August. FullscreenBuy Photo March 21, 2007 -Businesses line Elvis Presley Boulevard near the Graceland Mansion. Elvis Presley Enterprises has been buying property near Graceland for years. Last year, they spent more than $13 million on property. FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2011 - Elvis tribute artist Marcos Santos gives a personal serenade to Louise Smith of Southaven, MS during a performance in the Graceland Entertainment Pavilion before a vigil marking the 34th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley Monday night. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal) FullscreenBuy Photo February 6, 2011 - Chief executive officer of ALSAC Rick Shadyac (center) deflects a pass intended for meteorologist Joey Sulipeck (left) during a touch football game on the front lawn of Graceland to kick off a Superbowl XLV watch party benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Participants wore throwback replica jerseys from one of Elvis' old teams and George Klein, one of Elvis' best friends from high school, served as one of the coaches. (Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal) FullscreenBuy Photo November 10, 2005 - The Food Network brought chefs to Graceland to create birthday cakes for Elvis Presley, whose birthday is in January. The chefs did their things and the winner will be back for the birthday celebration and re-create the winning effort for Elvis fans. Elin Katz (cq) made this cake showing Elvis in action with fans clamoring below. Fullscreen March 1, 2005 - Sandra Baister,from Brighton, England, gets direction from Showtime Pictures photographer Stacy Debose before having her picture taken Tuesday afternoon at Graceland Plaza. FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2007 - Lana Kroll, of Canada, and Dean Z, of California, embrace to the applause of the crowd after becoming engaged on-stage at Graceland Wednesday evening. The performers met at Graceland twelve years ago and have been best friends ever since. FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2007 - Maria Miranda, of Melbourne Australia, in a sea of umbrellas as Elvis fans battle the heat at Graceland Wednesday for the evening vigil. FullscreenBuy Photo August 15, 2007 - Elvis fans tour the Graceland mansion on the 30th anniversary of Elvis's death. Fullscreen The auction Saturday celebrating Elvis at the Guest House at Graceland raised $330,531. FullscreenReplay
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