2016 expected to be banner year for tourist-related businesses
The director of tourism activity in Pulaski County expects a banner year for tourist-related businesses this coming summer with a definite increase in money left behind by visitors to the area.
Carolyn Mounce, executive director, Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau, said “ … our numbers are up … and (in addition to Lake Cumberland) … there are numerous events to entice tourists.”
Somerset and Pulaski County attract more than 1.5 million tourists who spend nearly $150 million a year. Lake Cumberland is the main attraction but there are also the annual Master Musician’s Festival, Somernites Cruise car show, the largest monthly car show in the state; and the Battle of Mill Springs with its museum at Nancy.
Somerset and Pulaski County have more than 1,200 rooms for overnight accommodations and a 105-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel is under construction adjacent to The Center for Rural Development. The new hotel is the final link to The Center’s ability to attract large conventions.
There are several new events this year including the Lake Cumberland 5K Obstacle Challenge at Pulaski County Park during the Master Musicians Festival, as well as the recent Crappie USA Lake Cumberland Super Event that produced slab crappie weighing in the neighborhood of 2 pounds. The fishing extravaganza brought anglers here from all parts of the country.
The First Impressions report, given recently under the auspices of the Community and Economic Initiative of Kentucky, related several favorable impressions about this community’s magnetism for tourists.
Following 21 visits by 12 team members from mid-July to December, the First Impression group was fascinated by the fish sculptures on display at the Visitors Information Center off Ky. 80.
“The progressiveness of Pulaski County shows in their infrastructure, modern shopping, government buildings and promotion of tourism,” remarked a retiree getting a first impression.
“It looked like land-use planning has been employed in the development of Lake Cumberland … it is beautiful to simply drive around the lake … Burnside had the best view of Lake Cumberland; just beautiful. Lake Cumberland has fishing and boating and General Burnside Island State Park has golf; there seems to be plenty to do to occupy your time.” Such are samples of comments from the First Impressions group.
In summary: “From train cars, buildings with mid-century architecture, to barn quilts and culture and heritage investment, all were evident throughout multiple visits to Somerset and Pulaski County.”
By BIL MARDIS