01.14.13

South Africa Tourism, model for Kentucky Tourism!

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Bluegrass Region, Destination Tourism, Kentucky, South Africa, Tourism, Travel at 10:27 pm by Thomas

I am recently back from my third(3rd) trip to South Africa in the past year having spent a total of nearly 6 weeks there and I have learned quite a bit.  Most of what drove the South African Economy of the past was mineral(Gold, Diamonds, Rare Earth Minerals, etc…) wealth.  As that has begun to decline South Africa’s other major industry, tourism has come into its own.

I am not going to beat around the bush, the thing that South African Tourism does well, is to sell South Africa as a Destination and a one of a kind experience, somewhere you go and spend a week or two.  This is something that I don’t feel Kentucky does and I am sure I will get many people who will disagree with me on that, but at the very least I will get most of those people to agree we do not do it to the degree we could and should.

Now to be fair, South Africa has some natural advantages that Kentucky does not but Kentucky has a beauty that I would put up against any place in the World and its own unique character that makes it a Great Tourism Destination.  The key with Destination Tourism is that you really are trying to sell to a far off audience, like South African’s, Europeans or just about anybody else on the planet.

I feel there are 4 keys to developing Kentucky as a Great Destination.

  1. Natural Beauty – Kentucky has a beauty that comes through in pictures that people find alluring.
  2. Southern Charm – We do posses an inviting personality that people generally find as warm and relaxing after they have been here.  That is something a little harder to convey to people who haven’t been here but it is possible with the right marketing.
  3. Adventure Tourism – Everything from horse back riding, hiking, cycling, boating to the Kentucky Horse Park and Horse Shows.  Activities that people can do with just the clothes on their back and a couple of days.
  4. Location, Location, Location – Kentucky is very centrally located which allows someone to come here and do day and overnight trips to a number of key Cites and sites, such as Nashville or Chicago or Washington DC.  Even New York City or Disney World are simple plane flights away.

While in South Africa we actually did a day trip up to Botswana just to have that experience and to check out the new Bush Babies Lodge on the Limpopo River that separates South Africa from Botswana.  And on our way back to the States, we came via Europe and changed flights in Paris, France on New Year’s Eve just  to get in another destination.  Now to be fair, we were only on the ground 5 hours so didn’t have time to leave the airport, but still I have the experience of saying I was in Paris for New Year’s Eve 2013.

My point being, that is why everyone wants to travel to far off lands and sometimes even the State next door, is for the experience and I have come to the conclusion that there are 7 billion people on the planet that all want to come to Kentucky they just don’t know it yet.  I realize most of those 7 billion people don’t have that luxury of being able to travel that far but there are a lot of people who can and Kentucky needs to be on their list of Destinations they want to visit in their Life times.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO

08.15.12

Gov. Beshear Pledges Support for Recreational Trails Program

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Government, Governor Beshear, Kentucky at 6:28 am by EPR

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Letter to Sec. LaHood Affirms Kentucky’s Commitment to Program

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2012) – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced his support for the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) by signing a letter to U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood reaffirming Kentucky’s commitment to utilize RTP funds.

“I am extremely pleased that the Recreational Trails Program has been reauthorized for funding,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Kentucky is dedicated to effectively and efficiently using this program’s resources in an effort to enhance tourism, increase economic development and promote healthy, active lifestyles in our rural and urban communities.”

The RTP provides funding to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

Last month, Congress and President Obama reauthorized RTP funding with the passage and signing of the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012.  As part of the legislation, $85 million in annual funding is dedicated to states for the RTP.  However, the legislation also contains a provision that allows state governors to opt out of the program funding.

With this letter of support, Gov. Beshear officially states that Kentucky recognizes the importance of the RTP and opposes any efforts to opt out of the program.

“Recreational trails not only provide an alternative form of transportation, they also spur economic development, increase property values and aid in land conservation,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Trail funding has been a valuable resource to enhancing the quality of Kentucky communities and I encourage other states to take advantage of this funding tool.”

The RTP is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.  Kentucky’s RTP grants are administered by DLG and require that applicants match the amount of funds requested. The grants may be used to provide assistance for acquisition of easements; development and/or maintenance of recreational trails; and trailhead facilities for both motorized and non-motorized use.

In 2011, Kentucky awarded $1.8 million in RTP grants to 38 applicants in communities across the Commonwealth to help fund hiking, cycling, horseback riding and other trails.

For more info on Kentucky recreational trails and other adventure tourism efforts in the state, please visit http://www.kentuckytourism.com/outdoor_adventure/great_outdoors.aspx.

Follow Governor Beshear on Twitter @Govstevebeshear, read the Governor’s personal notes on his blog at http://governor.ky.gov/blog, and view his video commentaries at http://www.youtube.com/governorbeshear.

Contact

Commonwealth of Kentucky 

Office of the Governor
Kerri Richardson at:
502.564.2611 or 502.330.6633
Terry Sebastian at:
502.564.2611 or 502.229.6130

Kentucky Horse Council

1500 Bull Lea Rd, Suite 214C
Lexington, KY 40511
www.kentuckyhorse.org
info@kentuckyhorse.org
Phone: (859) 367-0509
Fax: (866) 618-3837

01.13.09

Fort Harrod BCH Enlists Oxen to Help Clear Trail Areas

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Bluegrass Region, Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen, Kentucky, Volunteerism at 10:38 pm by Thomas

Harrodsburg, KY, January 12, 2009 – A local team of oxen, owned by Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen (Ft. Harrod BCH) member Brian Rogers, will work with trail enthusiasts on February 7-8, 2009 to clean out an old dump site at Eagle’s Nest Equestrian Trails in Harrodsburg.  The site primarily contains old tires which work crews will dislodge and load onto a sled pulled by the trained steers.  

Rogers’ oxen currently are used for light farm work including pulling a chain drag, pulling logs, moving stones and feed, and more.  The two-and-a-half year old pair has been working in yoke for the past two years and travel annually to participate in the Midwest Ox Drover’s Gathering in Scotts Michigan. 

“By using oxen to remove the debris we hope to limit the impact on the environment and minimize damage to the vegetation.  This is also a great way for us to incorporate the use of draft stock in our trail maintenance efforts,” stated Emily Dennis, President of the Ft. Harrod BCH.   

The tires will be removed from the Cornishville Road area of Eagle’s Nest to a proper disposal location.  Eagle’s Nest Trail Boss, Dennis Blackburn, is currently working with other Ft. Harrod BCH members and the local community to identify a low cost or no cost recycling or disposal alternative for the tires. 

Eagle’s Nest Equestrian Trails is closed for both January and February to reduce impact and erosion to the trails.  The scheduled work days are to be conducted on foot and without horses. 

Individuals wishing to join the trail clean up efforts will be shuttled from the pavilion at Eagle’s Nest to the clean up site.  Clean up efforts begin at 10 a.m. with a midday lunch break featuring potluck chili.  Participants are asked to bring prepared chili to mix and heat at the work site or an appropriate side dish and their own non-alcoholic beverages.  RSVP to confirm attendance by contacting Dennis Blackburn at 859-613-2665 or hardrockfarm@gmail.com.  

For more information or to join the Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen contact Emily Dennis at edennis@fewpb.net or 502-330-8798 or Dennis Blackburn at hardrockfarm@gmail.com or 859-613-2665.

08.05.08

Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Announcement, Kentucky at 10:48 pm by Thomas

Wanted to post some quick information about another organization that I am a founding member of called the Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen.  This is a group of horse trail enthusiasts in Central Kentucky that recently formed this non-profit organization as a 501(c)3 corporation.  The founding of this organization is largely the brain child of Emily Dennis of Big Red Stables, who is also now our President by unanimous vote. We held our first trail ride/maintenance out at Eagles Nest in Mercer county this past Saturday and had some two dozen members turn out for it.  Members of this group have also been involved in GPS mapping of trail areas in Central Kentucky which most likely be part of the trail system across that State that hopefully will be useable in time for the Games.  Emily actually testified before the State Legislature on SB 196 (Kentucky Adventure Toruism Initiative) which was the bill that provided the mechanism for the State to negotiate with land owners to create this trail system. 

I will provide more information here soon on joining this group, if you want information quicker then that jut drop me an email, thomas at kentuckyworldequestriangames dot org (spam bot shielding).

Thomas

03.29.08

2008 Senate Bill 196 (Kentucky Recreational Trails Authority)

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Governor Beshear, Kentucky, Legislation at 10:53 pm by Thomas

Kentucky Senate Bill 196 (Kentucky Recreational Trails Authority) passed both houses of the Kentucky Legislature and is headed to Governor Beshear’s desk where he has said he would sign it.  This bill was referred to as the “Adventure Tourism Bill” was sponsored by Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard).   In simple terms this bill is going to allow the State to enter into agreements with public land owners to provide trails and access points to connect public lands while protecting private land owners from undo liability risk.  First Lady Jane Beshear’s idea is to connect all 12o Kentucky counties with horse trails so that you could ride from one end of the state to the other.  We of course think this is a great idea and are in total support.  

The press release from the Governor’s office on this bill.  

On a side-note, I had the honor of meeting Emily Dennis at my CTA class and getting to ride out at her family’s Big Red Stables today.  Emily testified in both the House and Senate on behalf of this bill and had significant input in the crafting of the liability portion of this bill.  So I give thanks to Emily for her involvement in this bill and for the wonderful ride I had at her place today which I know I will feel in the morning, but that’s a good thing.

Thomas