EKY tourism grows as COVID-19 cases and regulations decline
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted many industries across the country. In the Big Sandy region, the tourism industry was one of the hardest hit.
“All of this momentum then, all of a sudden, screeching halt, everybody leave the building,” said Pretonsburg Tourism Executive Director Samantha Johnson, “so that was really wild to go from such momentum and such growth as an entire community to then hitting the brakes.”
Johnson adds that, if not for outdoor recreation, venues, and attractions, the region’s economy may have taken an even bigger hit.
“In many aspects, our outdoor adventure and outdoor tourism is what kept us hanging on and kept us from really having to cut budgets in ways that we anticipated needing to,” said Johnson.
Three years later, the national COVID-19 emergency has ended, COVID-19 cases and regulations have dropped significantly and all the while, the number of folks visiting the region has been on the rise.
“You’re seeing the nightlife come back, you’re starting to see the live music halls come back because people are just ready and willing to be out there in the midst of it all,” said Pike County Tourism CVB Executive Director Tony Tackett.
Tackett adds that, in just the past month, folks from 31 states and two different countries have signed in at the Pike County Tourism CVB, which shows that more and more visitors are coming into the region.
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