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Tennessee Tourism Stages Split Review

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ATLANTA Agencies vying for Tennessee's tourism business will need to complete two requests for proposals. The client has issued one RFP for its media contract, due back Sept. 25, and another for creative chores, due Oct. 6, according to the state.

Combined billings for both portions of the tourism account are $4 million.

Presentations for the creative end of the business are scheduled for Oct. 20-23, with a decision expected Oct. 27. A decision on media planning and buying is expected in mid-October.

As many as 30 agencies are expected to compete, sources said. Incumbent Walker & Associates in Memphis, Tenn., is expected to defend.

The state's current campaign theme is "Tennessee sounds good to me."

The department has a new director of marketing, Susan Whitaker, formerly with Dollywood, Tennessee's top-ranked attraction, according to information provided by the state.

The Volunteer State ranks No. 12 in annual visitors with 38 million. California and Florida lead the U.S. with 110 million and 75 million visitors, respectively, according to a 2001 report from the Travel Industry Association of America.

Tennessee ranks No. 20 in annual ad expenditures with $3.9 million, just behind Virginia's $4 million. Florida, with $11 million spent on ads, ranks first.