- Associated Press - Thursday, March 1, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The stage may be set for travelers in Tennessee, but state tourism officials have abandoned it for a song.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has dropped the slogan “The Stage Is Set for You,” which had been used for eight years.

It’s been replaced with “We’re Playing Your Song,” which was used from 1987 to 1995.

Department officials said the change was made after the reprised slogan tested well with focus groups and they decided a fresh approach was needed.

The revived slogan is now being used in television and print advertising as many families decide where to spend spring break and take their summer vacation.

“We’ll see if the people who view it convert to a traveler here,” said Susan Whitaker, state tourism commissioner.

She stressed that nothing was wrong with “The Stage Is Set for You.”

“It did well for us,” Whitaker said. “You freshen things up a little but you don’t change just to change. Sometimes we get tired of a campaign before the public does.”

Tourism businesses in the state seemed to welcome the change.

“Tennessee is synonymous with all kinds of music,” said Deborah Shaw Laman, vice president and marketing director of the Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum in Jackson. “We totally trust what they (state tourism officials) decide.”

Joe Baker of Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery in Gatlinburg said the new slogan fits his business well.

“In the moonshine business, a banjo and fiddle were always nearby,” he said. “Our business is based on tourism, and we embrace the element that music plays in our history. Every day here, we have bands playing that good ol’ Tennessee music.”

Tourism is big business in the state, which has up to 50 million visitors a year. It has about a $14 billion economic impact on Tennessee annually. More than 170,000 people are employed in the state in the travel industry.

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