Plans are moving forward with the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation Center, including the movement of elk into the area, the addition of gates and controlled burns of underbrush which will benefit food plots and help the elk to thrive here. The Bell County Tourism Commission plans to get drone footage of the changes happening there, also.
During a BCTC meeting on Feb. 28, Director Jon Grace addressed advertising updates including the release of the newest commercial which will air in late March sometime. The 30-second commercial will include footage of outdoor opportunities, drone footage and downtown shopping, to name a few.
The commission is looking into making t-shirts to sell that will incorporate historical businesses from the area. If approved, these will be sold at the tourism office, as well as local businesses.
An interactive map is available on the BCTC website which highlights the tourism opportunities in the area such as hiking, caving and zip-line opportunities. It can be found at www.bellcountytourism.com under the ‘activities’ tab. Grace is also working on creating a mobile-friendly version for a cell phone application.
Upcoming 2017 events will include a new idea from the tourism commission — a kayak fishing tournament to take place in several different bodies of water in Bell County. According to Grace, this outdoor sport is gaining momentum and should be a big event happening later this fall. He hopes to also have a race, live music, food, outdoor recreation vendors at the Bell County Fairgrounds during the event.
Grace recently attended the Eastern Highlands Tourism Meeting where it was announced that Kentucky tourism in 2018 will focus on Appalachian food and cuisine. John Brown will act as one of the representatives from the area.
Just under a month ago, Sagebrush Steakhouse opened in Middlesboro and has had great success according to Steve Mars. Sales are around $100,000 per week and the Middlesboro location is breaking several company records.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.