By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
The new director of the Barbourville Tourism Commission told board members Monday it was time to develop a plan. That plan is to focus on marketing the area and what it has to offer to the rest of the world.
It was Denise Wainscott who said it was time for the commission to start out the new year with a new plan, new goals, and look at ways to improve on the marketing message.
“First, we reflected on the December and Christmas events, like the ‘I Believe in Santa Claus’ Parade, and the Christmas Tour of Homes. Then we talked about engaging more people to get involved in events like the Christmas parade, the Redbud Festival and of course, the Daniel Boone Festival. One way to do that is to get schools and churches in Barbourville and Knox County involved,” Wainscott said in a phone interview Tuesday.
It’s not the first time the idea was brought up in recent months. In a Times-Tribune story about the Christmas parade in November, Barbourville Mayor David Thompson said the tourism board would set up a meeting with the Christmas Committee to work on getting churches involved to get more participation in 2013.
In addition to being mayor, Thompson also serves on the tourism board.
Wainscott added while Monday’s meeting was short in length, the objectives from the new marketing plan can pay off big dividends in the long term.
“We talked about visitors coming to town. There are several who visit the Stivers Aquatic Center and use that new facility. It’s a place they can go to and use for recreation, their health and their well-being. When most of them come, they ask about where they can eat, or stay, as well as other attractions here and a short drive away. Our plan is to market what we have to offer, as well as what we can do to put our best foot forward.”
The session also focused on getting the word out about Barbourville and Knox County’s events and attractions. Several forms of media are used. Wainscott suggested one way to update a tool the tourism board already has in their possession.
“We have a website, and that’s the first place most visitors look for when they come here. It’s 2013, and it’s time for us to redesign that website, and to put it use as a friendly way to keep visitors informed on events, services, and what they can look forward to throughout the year.”
Wainscott was named to the position of tourism director in November. She also serves as Executive Assistant to Union College’s President, Dr. Marcia Hawkins. The idea for the position to serve both Union and the tourism board came from a letter in October to the board from the college, and was agreed to by both groups that same month.
Monday’s meeting was held at the Barbourville and Knox County Visitor Center on High Street. Their next regular meeting is scheduled in February.