Officials hoping Kentuckians discover their own backyard with summer travel

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:00 PM EDT
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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A full tank of gas will take you anywhere from 200 to 400 miles depending on your car or truck.

That means the upper limit for a single tank of gas will get people from Chicago or Atlanta all the way to the Cumberland Valley area.

As inflation and high gas prices impact family budgets, tourism officials and industry experts hope to capture this large market.

At the Mouth of the Laurel, Dania Egedi operates the Cumberland Star Riverboat just like her father did for decades before her. The riverboat is just one excursion she offers through Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort.

”We do everything from the really exciting like white water rafting to really, pretty easy things like the Cumberland Star Riverboat,” Egedi said. “We do sight seeing cruises on it where you just back and relax and then a lot of things in-between.”

Egedi said her business typically books travelers from out-of-state, but with smaller family budgets she said that trend is starting to change.

”We’re starting to see more and more local people as well,” she explained. “People that always say, ‘Gosh, I’ve lived here my entire life and I didn’t even know that you guys were in the area,’ and so they’re just starting to explore their own area and really appreciate why everyone else keeps coming to this area.”

Director of the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission Maggy Monhollen said a decent spring season could shift to a booming summer.

”Just the fact that we are affordable and centrally located, I think that’s really going to help from an inflation standpoint,” Monhollen said adding that her team will be looking at the latest data on how to draw travelers to the region as the economy changes.

Monhollen emphasized the customer trend business owners like Egedi is noticing is part of how tourism officials attempt to bring people to the area.

”We’re two and half hours from Louisville, two and half hours from Cincinnati...that’s still a pretty quick trip for people who are looking to get out and explore and get away from home for a little while,” she said.

Egedi said wherever people come from, her team is fully staffed despite industry hiring struggles and ready to welcome guests.

”We haven’t had as many customers as we were expecting, so we’re really looking forward to a great summer season and we hope that we start to see more people coming in.”

Tourism officials said the next big weekend for the region is the Fourth of July holiday when they will look to start the summer season with a bang.

The Fourth of July celebration in Corbin will actually be on held on July 3 this year with fireworks and live music at The Corbin Arena.

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