LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce president Woodye Bedford welcomed new state Department of Tourist Development commissioner Kevin Triplett, along with Rene Lance from the South Central Tennessee Tourism Association and Carolyn Denton of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce to Lynchburg last week.
Bedford gave the group a tour and talked about improving both the quantity and quality of the tourist traffic here in Lynchburg.
“He’s the new commission of tourist development. He’s been taking familiarity tours around the state, getting to know people,” said Bedford. “He’s particularly interested in Lynchburg somewhat because of his rural background. I went up there and asked him to come see us.
“He’s interested in getting the tourists off the interstate and getting some interest in small places like Lynchburg. He’s got a heart for the little guys.”
The hope is to draw more interest for the small businesses here other than Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Bedford said he understood that Lynchburg was a booming small town with a big tourist draw due to the interest in the distillery, but he emphasized that the small businesses in town also needed to pull their own weight.
“We need to stand up and be counted too,” said Bedford. “We need to do our part. We need to give them a good experience and back that up.”
Bedford said he had a very positive meeting with Triplett, who is relatively new on the job. With a background in NASCAR and a former executive at Bristol Motor Speedway, he was appointed to the commissioner’s position by Gov. Bill Haslem in March and took over on April 23, replacing Susan Whitaker.
Bedford added that he felt like Triplett had good ideas for the state and felt like Lynchburg could benefit as well.
“We wanted to know how he can help all-volunteer organizations like ours,” added Bedford. “He’s looking into how the state can help us and how we can work together.
“It was a very interesting discussion and I’m still floored that he came here and talked with us. He came here and talked with us, he talked with (Mayor) Sloan Stewart for a few minutes, we had lunch and then he spent the afternoon (at) Jack Daniels.”