Jim Host, the new secretary of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, told legislators and tourism officials today he is going to make it a top priority to promote the tourism industry in Kentucky.
He said the tourism industry probably has more potential for "adding jobs and helping the economy than any other industry we have or any other industry that we can invent."
Host was the guest speaker at the Kentucky Tourism Legislative Issues Breakfast at the Farnham Dudgeon Convention Center. The breakfast was sponsored by the Kentucky Tourism Council and the theme was "Unite Tourism."
In the center of each breakfast table were miniature treasure chests with the message: "Tourism - Kentucky's $1.9 billion treasure chest."
"I will promise you one thing," Host said. "We will do more with less. We will do more because we will combine the great assets this state has together with a promotional scheme that I think will be unequal in what you've seen before."
Host said he intends to recommend to the legislature that a great deal of money that's been spent in out-of-state advertising promotions be diverted to a matching funds program that began back in 1967.
The matching funds can put money in areas across Kentucky "where it belongs on a common, unified theme that causes the local areas to promote themselves with a common theme of promoting Kentucky," Host said. "It can't be done alone."
He said the Department of Travel Development in his cabinet will form a partnership with the Kentucky Tourism Council that will be "unequal in terms of how we intend to have the private sector and the public sector work closely together to do more with less."
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