Tourism office and park employee bring KTIA awards back to the ‘Star City’

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Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 8:05 PM EST
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials with the Prestonsburg Tourism office like to say that the area has a little something for everything. Recently, they brought home some honors from the Kentucky Travel Industry Association even though they were pitted up against much larger markets such as Lexington and Louisville.

“There really is something for everyone,” Prestonsburg Tourism Executive Director Samantha Johnson. “If you’re super outdoorsy, but you’re an adrenaline junkie where you want to soar down a mountain, we have that, but if you want to kick back, enjoy nature, enjoy history, we’ve got that too.”

The office brought home three awards. Gold and the title of “Most Innovative” for its “With Love, From Prestonsburg” video as well as bronze for “Best Marketing Campaign.” Tourism is the third-largest industry in the state of Kentucky and the end goal for even the smallest towns is to bring in new visitors and new dollars.

“For every dollar of marketing we spend, we anticipate at least a five-dollar return into our community,” said Johnson, “and that’s a brand-new dollar so it’s not just recirculation.”

Along with the office’s award-winning marketing and video production, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park employee Amanda Arnett is one of five “Star of Hospitality” award winners in the state.

“It’s a little bit mind-blowing… it really is,” said Arnett. “I don’t do my job to win awards, I do it because I love my guests, I love building those relationships.”

With four awards coming back to the mountains, Arnett and Johnson have seen the fruits of their labor firsthand.

“We have new guests that come by and they’re like ‘we saw where Prestonsburg won a bunch of these awards and stuff, that’s outstanding’,” said Arnett, “and it gives us a chance to just say ‘yeah, Prestonsburg is really going places and have you checked out this place?’”

Arnett and Johnson say none of these awards could have been possible without the help of entire teams working together to make Prestonsburg the “Star City”.

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