PIKEVILLE – On Thursday, the Southeast Kentucky Chamber hosted the CEO of Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA), Hank Phillips, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pikeville.
A large crowd of Chamber and community members filled the ballroom to hear KTIA’s CEO discuss the economic impact of tourism in Eastern Kentucky.
Phillips opened his remarks by telling the crowd that during the planning of KTIA’s spring conference he fell in love with Pikeville, Pike County, and the surrounding area. “Since my first visit everyone in the community was welcoming,” said Phillips. “Our members of KTIA that attended the conference were literally blown away. The feedback we received on our survey was excellent.”
Phillips also touched on how many great things are happening in the eastern Kentucky pertaining to the tourism economy. He referenced the most report from the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism conveying that within the Chamber’s eight-county footprint $283 million are generated in economic activity and 2,800 jobs are supported by tourism.
Phillips listed a few activities and some attractions that are in the area. “Think of the activities and attractions as products in a business that generate revenue,” said Phillips. “The EXPO, Hatfield and McCoy History, Hillbilly Days Festival, Jenny Wiley Theatre, Breaks Interstate Park plus many more. All those are products of this area’s tourism business.”
He mentioned that this area is really blessed with some top notch tourism bureaus and commissions. “You have some great people who are leading the way on tourism promotion,” said Phillips.
Phillips concluded with 5 points. “Volunteer, be involved in a statewide organization, join committees, form relationships with legislators, and as a community be united, proud and vocal,” said Phillips. “You need to know that when it comes to tourism the people here are really what can make a destination go. Thank you for having me, and I can’t wait for the next opportunity I have to come back to Pikeville.”
KTIA represents and serves the interests of Kentucky’s travel industry through four service cornerstones: advocacy, education, information and business development. The approximately 800 organization and individual members include attractions, convention & visitor bureaus, hotels, restaurants, state government agencies, universities, media and industry suppliers.