TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

May 30, 2007

Holiday business better than expected

SOMERSET (AP) — The number of visitors to Lake Cumberland over the Memorial Day weekend fell about 8 percent from last year, but businesses and officials were relieved.

The water level is being kept lower this year to help protect Wolf Creek Dam while leaks are under repair. Many had worried the lower water level would hurt tourism, which brings an estimated $150 million economic impact annually in four lake-area counties.

The Army Corps of Engineers said 223,000 people visited during the weekend, down from 243,000 last year but above the corps’ pre-holiday projection.

“It was much better than I expected,” Carolyn Mounce, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Businesses had already reported lower receipts for boat rentals, lodging and other items in winter and spring results. Then reservations were slower than usual for Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff of the summer boating season.

“Two weeks ago, it looked really bad,” said James Flatt, general manager at Indian Hills Resort-Alligator 2 Marina in Russell County.

But business improved, and Alligator 2 ended up renting all 14 of its pontoons for the weekend and all of its cabins. Still, the campground wasn’t as full as last year, and neither of the marina’s rental houseboats was taken.

Flatt was pleased anyway.

“We had a great weekend,” he said. “I was really surprised.”

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