Visitors’ Bureau launches launched Thursday.

COOKEVILLE – The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau on Thursday launched, a new website designed to inspire travel to Putnam County., designed by WD Stone & Associates, offers still photography and video. A direct feed from the @CookevilleTN Instagram account offers user-generated images to showcase travel. Navigation along with state-of-the-art GPS/mobile and itinerary capabilities not only serve as a trip planning tool, but as a resource once guests have arrived to the area.

The launch of the site is a next phase in rebranding efforts that began with the introduction of a new logo – a bear on a bicycle sporting a canoe on his back, with the “o’s” of Cookeville serving as the bicycle tires. Several variations of the logo have been created, e.g. a bear on a motorcycle, a bear working out, a fishing bear, and so on.

“The bear represents the adventurous traveler,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development. “We don’t want people to come here expecting to see the bear; we want them to come here to ‘be the bear.’”

Additionally, the visitors’ bureau marked its official launch of a new merchandise partnership. The bureau has partnered with Cookeville Reserve to build its brand through logoed merchandise. Select area retailers, such as The Outdoor Experience, will carry shirts, hats, camping mugs, pint glasses, and more, while will serve as a primary source for purchase. Guests can also “Shop the Bear” from any page of

“We feel we are finally packaging and marketing ‘who we are’ and leveraging our outdoor and fitness opportunities as well as other tourism assets,” Ledbetter said.

An example of that marketing package is apparent in the branding tagline alone. “Cookeville, A Natural Fit” represents the area’s natural attractions as well as the amenities leading it to be a sports and fitness destination.

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Surrounded by state parks and natural areas, serving as host to countless sporting events as well as home to the “Fittest on Earth,” the marketing of fitcations has become a pillar to the bureau’s marketing strategies.

The next phase of marketing and branding efforts will include the publishing of a new visitor guide. The guide will mirror the aesthetics of the website, with fun “Did You Knows” and area maps. The guide will be printed in coming weeks via a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and a matching marketing co-op grant.

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Most recent economic impact numbers list Cookeville-Putnam County 16th out of Tennessee’s 95 counties in direct tourism expenditures. With $122.15 million in direct visitor spending, tourism provides more than $300 per year in tax relief per household.

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