Sanders said the south and eastern Kentucky regions are trying to catch up with other sections of the state in promoting tourism, and that is being made possible with the help of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset.
Rogers formed a partnership in 2000 with state Secretary of Tourism Ann Latta in a program called "Company's Coming," a tourism development initiative for Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The program uses tourism promotion and development to bolster local economies.
Research shows that tourism contributed more than $836 million to the southern and eastern Kentucky economy last year. More than 19,250 jobs, an increase of 400, have resulted from tourism in the region in the past year.
Sanders said the free hospitality training is being offered in the 42-county area to educate people on promoting tourism. The training, which would cost $300 per person in schools, will be for people in restaurants, gasoline stations and other places tourists look for information on sites to visit.
A catalog that lists fairs, festivals and other events also is being compiled. The catalogues also are financed through a grant and will be available in businesses so tourists can find places of interest. Sanders said there will be data on shopping, museums, parks and anything to do with tourism in each of the counties.
People in Casey County will be trained as soon as the tourism book is available, he said.
A Web site database is currently under construction and a 511 telephone line should be available by next year to provide information on places to visit. The tourism call center will provide tourist information to travelers through the state's 511 Traffic Information System, one of the first of its kind in the United States.
Sanders said questionnaires have been sent to farmers and businesses in the region to get information on what's available for tourists who visit.