Morristown isn't what Ross called a "primary destination." The city sits halfway between Knoxville and Bristol, Tenn., and is known for Cherokee Lake, where it hosts several fishing competitions a year. It's where fabled pioneer and soldier Davy Crockett spent his formative years and is about an hour away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ross said.
Ross markets Morristown as a place with its own offerings that makes a good stop on a larger tour of the region, she said.
"We're a good hub-and-spoke location," Ross said of Morristown. "Our accommodations are going to be less expensive than what you might find in a more urban area."
This is the first year the showcase has been held in West Virginia.
Travel South USA director Liz Bittner said more than 500 tourism professionals are attending the three-day event and are expected to have a more-than-$500,000 economic impact on the region.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones touted the city's commitment to expanding tourism. Jones said more than $45 million has been invested in Charleston between the upgrading and construction of downtown hotels and renovations to the Charleston Town Center. A half-cent sales tax is expected to contribute about $50 million to Civic Center upgrades, Jones said.
"We have targeted that particular industry for expansion, because I know that tourism is something nobody can debate," Jones said at the marketplace Monday. "It's not anything you get in an argument about. There's no mountaintop removal or there's no fracking. There's no chemicals in the water. ... It's something that everybody can agree on."Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.mole...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.