European music tourism to Tennessee on the rise - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

European music tourism to Tennessee on the rise

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State tourism officials say the summer should see a boom in European music tourism to destinations like Memphis and Nashville, thanks to a weak dollar and strong euro.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development says CMA Music Festival tour packages have sold out in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

One of those planning to attend is Annie Sapede, of Paris.

"It's very interesting for us to go to United States for the moment. We can buy more things, some boots and some hats," she told Nashville newspaper The Tennessean.

Sapede estimates her trip to the four-day festival will cost less than $3,000.

Foreign tourists overall spent nearly $362 million in Tennessee in 2006, up 5 percent from 2005.

Many tour operators say music plays a big part in overseas travel to Tennessee.

Wolfgang Streitborger markets Tennessee tourist attractions in Europe.

He says he sees many people who love country music and have dreamed of coming to Tennessee for years to see meccas like Graceland or the Grand Ole Opry. Now they can finally afford it.

John Peters, from Germany, was visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

He said he heard his first country song in 1959 - "All Over Again" by Johnny Cash.

Peters said he waited 40 years to travel to Nashville. Now, the strength of the euro offers what he calls a "great possibility for those with little money to see the great, wide world."


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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