By Lana Bellamy - Journal-Times
July 17, 2013 — Sightseeing is not just limited to big cities and beach towns.
According to the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet’s economic impact study, tourism in Carter County is on the rise.
Data from the 2011-2012 fiscal year shows that direct tourism expenditures in Carter County reached $21,021,315, up from the previous year’s $19,321,061.
At the end of each year, an economic impact study is conducted for each Kentucky county to see how much money tourism brings in.
Mignon Colley, treasurer of the Grayson Tourism Commission and assistant manager of Super 8 Motel in Grayson, said the influx of tourists in the area is visible.
“I can say from this year and going into next year, I can see a large difference in the number of people coming into the motel,” she said.
Colley and fellow commission members Brandon Fraley and Deborah Meenach have been working on creative ideas to keep Carter tourism moving forward.
“Our goal is to become a hub for our community and our families and for the world to be able to recognize the wonderful things that are happening in our county,” Meenach said.
Supporting local events has been a big focus for the commission. By sponsoring events such as Rudy Fest, Carter County Thunder, Vietnam Veteran’s Wall and more, they are able to help attract bigger audiences.
“We try to partner with other local organizations that are already doing some great things. We just try to magnify their voice by giving awareness to their events and financially support advertising so more people are aware,” said Fraley, the commission chair.
Colley said they try to shine the light on Carter County outside of the area by taking their brochures and other items to the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, the Columbus AAA Great Vacation Expo, the Lexington Boat Show and other places.
To further their outreach, they have constructed a new website with mobile access.
Meenach said they are launching new activities this winter involving the whole county—from churches to businesses to citizens.
The three-day event is named “Hometown Holidays” and is fashioned after Christmas holidays in Europe, she said.
Activities will be Dec. 6-8.and will include city-wide caroling, shopping, live nativity scenes and more.
Meenach said white tents will be set up between the Art Gallery and the City Building where vendors can sell handcrafted items and homemade foods.
Next summer the commission plans to debut a 12-week plan consisting of music festivals and events on every weekend of the season, alternating between Grayson and Olive Hill.
With an agenda full of ideas, the commission members are committed to sharing their love for the area they live in, Fraley said.
The commission welcomes anyone in the area, local or elsewhere, to come into the tourism office at any time during their operating hours, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday.