Federal program markets Sevier County abroad

May. 21, 2014 @ 06:37 PM

Sevierville and Sevier County are getting some new international exposure thanks to a partnership with the state and federal governments.

The Sevierville Chamber of Commerce has already worked with the state on advertising campaigns, and both are now working with Brand USA, a federal program aimed at attracting international visitors.

Brand USA personnel were in town Wednesday to shoot footage for videos that will target audiences in the United Kingdom and Germany, where Sevierville native and country music legend Dolly Parton will be performing later this year. Typically, local officials have found that events like that result in a surge in interest, and they’re gearing up for it.

Chamber Director of Sales Scott King will be going to the same areas to meet with travel agents and others to talk about booking trips, and chamber personnel will help with that if they call here.

Brand USA also shot videos that will be placed online for people curious about the area.

“This is part of our efforts to market Sevierville and the Smoky Mountains to Germany and the U.K.,” said Amanda Marr, marketing director for the chamber. “This is really our effort to reach out to those markets.”

Brand USA advertises in Europe, and will be running ads about Tennessee during Parton’s tour.

The program also makes brief videos with information targeting different international markets, and workers also were taking footage for those at local attractions including Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Mall, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood.

Wednesday, Marr and King were with a Brand USA photographer and the on-air personalities, Victoria Shepherd, from the United Kingdom, and Heiko Obermoeller from Germany.

It was the first trip to this area for Obermoeller and Shepherd, but they’d been researching the locations ahead of time.

Obermoeller said he had no idea there was a park devoted to Parton before preparing for the job.

“I wasn’t aware of it, I didn’t know this existed,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised. I particularly loved the craft village.”

In addition to appearing in footage shot at each location, the two will write and narrate the brief, informational vidoes aimed at audiences in their home countries.

“I’m glad that we can kind of span between the nature and also have Dollywood and other attractions,” Obermoeller said. “You could easily make 10 videos here.”

jfarrell@themountainpress.com