Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Eastern Kentucky still waiting to be a tourist hub

"As Labor Day draws close, vacationers make their end-of-summer plans, and Kentucky’s mountain foliage begins to turn colorful, Eastern Kentucky still wonders when it will become a tourism hub," as many in the region have long hoped, J.J. Snidow writes for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. (National Park Service photo: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park)While many political leaders push tourism as the key to the region’s development, others caution that such hopes are more flights of fancy than realistic plans for the future," Snidow writes. "Kentucky’s Appalachian coal counties have significantly fewer food and accommodations establishments -- bellwethers of a healthy tourism economy -- and on the average, generate about 30 percent less money from tourism than the other regions" of the state, known for horse farms, historic sites and recreational lakes.

Snidow reports that new golf courses in the region haven't prompted hoped-for resort development, and notes critics who fault the state for not doing enough to spur such development. Some officials want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow more development on or near the shores of its lakes; others promote adventure tourism. And though reclaimed strip mines are home toa growing elk herd, the skeptics say the region's coal industry remains a disincentive for tourists. (Read more)

1 comment:

Mike said...

My experience on many trips that direction is just a lack of accomodations, entertainement, etc. You drive 3 hours east from Louisville, spend the day at the state park, which is great and all, and then you go back to your crummy motel, eat your Big Mac and watch TV until you fall asleep. There's just not much to do if you aren't a local familiar with all the little hidden gems and even then, when you're on vacation you want a certain degree of comfort that is sometimes hard to come by.