New Tennessee vacation guide now available

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development unveiled its official 2021 Tennessee Vacation Guide on Wednesday, Feb. 17, with a cover showcasing the state’s diverse cuisine.

Tennessee’s world-class hospitality and culinary creations have long been a draw for visitors and residents alike, and this year’s guide highlights top chefs and their signature dishes inspired by regional traditions.

The guide comes at a time when many restaurants experienced significant revenue loss since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and, in some cases, were forced to close their doors.

Penned by Tennessee-based food critic Chris Chamberlain, the cover story emphasizes such notable and road-trip-worthy chefs and eateries as Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro in Townsend, Chef Tam’s Underground Café in Memphis and City Farm Co. in Nashville, among others.

To spark travel planning, the guide highlights Tennessee stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, breathtaking scenic beauty, Tennessee Music Pathways, kid-friendly destinations and more. The guide offers over 140 pages of travel inspiration and is available free as a printed guide or instant download at TNvacation.com, or at any of Tennessee’s 16 Welcome Centers.

“We’re optimistic about our future and eager to see restaurants bustling with full tables once again, so it’s fitting that this year’s guide spotlights our wonderful restaurants and chefs,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Our restaurants have worked hard to keep their doors open, implement safety measures and provide much-needed jobs. It’s up to all of us to lift this industry and help them restore their businesses, whether it’s dining in, ordering takeout or purchasing gift cards.”

Tennessee is home to more than 11,000 restaurants according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to Tennessee Department of Revenue, the state’s eating and drinking establishments have seen a 47% decline in sales, representing a decline of $1.92 billion in gross taxable sales and a $135 million loss in state revenue since March 2020. Employment continues to trend upward, however the industry remains down 8%, or 22,500 less jobs since March 2020.

Franklin-based Journal Communications Inc. produces the guide, which is distributed to nearly 500,000 visitors annually.