A big part of the new welcome center in Olive Hill is going to be the Tom T. Hall memorabilia housed in the depot location. So it seemed a natural fit to the Carter County Tourism Board to include that in advertising for the county when they discussed the Country Music Highway and Eastern Kentucky Travel Guide with Dan Lyons at their February meeting last week.

The guide, which changed its name this year to include “Eastern Kentucky” in the title, is placed in rest stops throughout the state, as well as in bordering states like Tennessee and Virginia.

“We're getting a good, strong flow (of tourists) from down south into our area,” Lyons told the board.

The board approved a motion to buy advertisements in the magazine, with one page used to promote the county's parks and Rush Off Road, and a second page used to promote the Tom T. Hall exhibits at the Olive Hill Welcome Center.

The board also discussed new Trail Town brochures for inclusion at the Welcome Center and other locations. These new brochures would include QR codes that could be scanned so that friends and family know when you are on the trail, and what location on the trail you were visiting or planning on visiting. These QR codes would also be placed on markers on each trail as a way to check in.

The board moved to approve the purchase of 5,000 of the new brochure, with the purchase of more to be considered after additional QR codes are added to the trails.

The board also approved the purchase of 5,000 booklets for the new Olive Hill Welcome Center. These booklets would provide information on Olive Hill native son, poet, author and singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall as well as a list of places to eat, stay, and visit while in the community.

The county tourism logo will be featured on both the Trail Town and Welcome Center brochures.

The board also discussed an upcoming appearance on WSAZ news during the noon slot, the park manager conference at Carter Caves in April, and the purchase of billboard advertising in Huntington, the Cincinnati area, and other locations.

Carter Caves park manager Chris Perry also gave a report on the Winter Adventure Weekend, which he said drew over 500 participants from 11 different states, including places as far away as California and Wyoming. Perry said the Valentine's weekend dinner at the lodge was also sold out for both nights, noting that advertising for that event “paid for itself.”

The board is also soliciting submissions for their events calendar for the coming year, with all event submissions requested by March 6, so they can be compiled prior to and approved during their next regular meeting.

That next meeting will be a work session, on Thursday, March 12 at 6 p.m. at the Carter Caves lodge.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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