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Retire Tennessee recruiting aging baby boomers to Unicoi County

Sue Guinn Legg • Aug 7, 2017 at 4:33 PM

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has deployed a new online tool to recruit a booming generation of retirees to visit and relocate to 22 volunteer state communities being marketed through its Retire Tennessee initiative.

A new RetireTennessee.org website was recently launched as a part of rebranding of the state’s 12-year-old tourism and residential development program aimed at the estimated 78 million baby boomers at or approaching their retirement years.

The site showcases the attributes that have placed Tennessee near the top of several national rankings of best places to retire: natural beauty, a mild four-season climate, historic and cultural attractions and a low cost of living and other economic factors attractive to people looking for a place to spend their retirement.

The site’s features include a cost-of-living calculator specific to each of the participating counties, photographs of the most attractive features the counties offer and links to their local marketing websites.

Visitors can also take a virtual tour of the communities that interest them or request free printed information on those communities.

For Unicoi County, which joined the Retire Tennessee program two years ago, the program generates a big response.

“We get hundreds of inquiries through leads the state shares with us,” Unicoi County Joint Economic Development Board Executive Director Tyler Engle said. “So we’re able to connect with people who want to learn more about our community, literally hundreds every month.”

The website describes Unicoi County as “the place where the mountains meet the metro” and goes on to say, “Living here means you keep exploring and getting involved in a place where people are genuinely friendly.

“You’ll find a reasonable cost of living without income tax. Housing costs are lower and travel destinations are a day’s drive or quick flight away.

“From the Cherokee National Forest to performing arts or adventures for families of all sizes and ages … .”

Statewide, Retire Tennessee inspired more than 8,000 inquiries from potential retirees last year. Ramay Winchester, the director of tourism initiatives in charge of Retire Tennessee, said the program’s success has much to with Tennessee’s “remarkable quality of life.”

Communities taking part in the program are required to meet criteria for resources and amenities needed to attract retirees. Locally, Carter, Sullivan and Washington counties also participate in the program.

“Our Retire Tennessee counties are the crown jewels in attracting new residents that bring even more vitality to our state. Active retirees relocating to these communities help stimulate the economy, while bringing their knowledge and time to actively invest in their new home,” he said.

Tennessee Commissioner of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett said, “We are very pleased to expand our ability to serve those making retirement decisions because Tennessee has so much to offer.

“Low cost of living, no state income tax, low property taxes, four mild seasons, incredible quality of living and breathtaking scenic beauty offer an ideal package for retirees looking to relocate,” Triplett said.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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