Pike County Tourism ‘wading through’ pandemic on the heels of highest recorded year of tourist spending

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Pike County wrapped 2019 by bringing in more tourism money than ever recorded.

Tourist spending came in at more than $105 million dollars, a $6 million dollar increase compared to 2018. Pike County Tourism Executive Director, Tony Tackett, said the county is seeing a response to the hard work spent on highlighting all it has to offer.

“We’re seeing people wanting to get out of the field of the city. They’re looking to be out in a rural area," said Tackett.

But with the pandemic filling the books for 2020, cutting down the allocated taxes from restaurant sales and lodging, Tackett says the county will see a dip in its budget this year.

“Tourism, compared to last year, is down half. No other way to put it. But patience, diligent work, grassroots will get us back to where we were," said Tackett.

He said his office is still pushing efforts for bringing in tourism as the pandemic continues, using social media and mailing brochures.

“It’s the diligent work that goes into that. You can never project one year to the next, as this year," he said. "But we can sure look at the outlook of what we’ve done and know that we can accomplish it again.”

Tackett said the groundwork for making the area a tourist destination is always ongoing. From digital work, to the motorcoach trips of the past, paired with the relationships built and stories shared over the years, he says the efforts are not threatened by the current financial hardship hitting the tourism industry.

“Not being ‘Woe is we,’ you know? We are used to struggles," he said. "We’re used to pulling our pants legs up and wading through water.”

He is already looking forward to booking visitors for 2021.

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