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Waste Watch: Money Spent on Out-of-State Firm to Attract Tourists -- Mikayla Lewis

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development announced a Missouri based marketing firm as its agency to promote tourism in the state.

VML was awarded the 5-year contract that  is $60 million in taxpayer dollars. The company has dozens of offices across the globe, and some of its clients include Colgate and Gatorade.

Jay Adams, a local business owner said, "My first reaction is why didn't they keep the money in the local economy?"

Jay Adams owns a small software company called Noxigen in Nashville.

Adams added, " I can see where if they got a better deal going out of state  then that is one option."

The state Department of Tourist Development says it did get the better deal and selected VML through a bidding process. David Roberson with the Tennessee Department of General Services say the office evaluated the contracts. 

Roberson explained, "We weren't choosing the firm on the basis of this geographic location. Our goal in competitive procurements is to get the best possible value for the taxpayers of Tennessee."

Chris Butler with the Tennessee Watchdog.org agrees the state took the right measures. The reporter recent article says the tourism development department looked at 40 different marketing agencies, including 8 here in Tennessee.

Butler suggested, "Perhaps they need to determine what they can do to get greater participation in the marketing firms we have here in the state, many of which are very professional."

Adams said, " The business of the business is about the local area, even if they did research... you still get a better feel, better vibe from a local company."

The first state campaign from VML will launch this summer. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development says VML plans to open an office in Nashville, but it is uncertain when.

Follow Mikayla Lewis on Twitter @MikaylaFox17.

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