On Tour

Jill Flannery, an animal keeper at Kentucky Down Under in Horse Cave, feeds a dandelion to a camel named Camille. Kentucky Down Under was a stop Tuesday for those on the Cave Region Area Familiarization Tour.

Caveland Marketing Association officials want those who work in the tourism industry to know what the area has to offer visitors.

On Tuesday, they promoted the area by inviting tourism workers to take the Cave Region Area Familiarization Tour, which involved visiting various attractions in and around Cave City and Horse Cave.

“The goal of the day is to better equip the frontline tourism staff on how to answer the question, ‘So, what is there to do in the area?’ The best way to experience anything is to see it yourself and then you can better tell the people who asked you about it,” said Nicole Randall, who is marketing director for Dinosaur World in Cave City and is also affiliated with CMA.

About 35 people took the tour, which began at Dinosaur World and included stops at Jesse James Riding Stables, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort, Kentucky Down Under and Kentucky Repertory Theatre among other attractions.

This is the third year CMA has done the tour.

“We just want to teach people what all there is offered, because we are really blessed with our attractions in the area and we want to share that with everybody and tell them some secrets they don’t know or just educate them on the top attractions in the area,” Randall said.

Among those who took the tour were representatives from local banks, welcome centers, restaurants, hotels and other attractions.

Charolay Russell with Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave took the tour to be able to better answer visitors’ questions.

“One of the main things they want to know is what will benefit their family,” she said.

Russell guides tourists to attractions she thinks will interest them most. If they have children, she suggests things that would appeal to children depending on their age.

If guests are on a limited budget, she said she tries to suggest things in the area that are inexpensive, yet fun for the entire family. She also makes them aware of attractions that may be offering coupons or other discounts.

Russell said she learned things about area attractions Tuesday that she didn’t know, such as handicap accessibility at Outlaw Cave at Kentucky Action Park.

“You can take a wheelchair in there. I didn’t know that,” she said.

Karen McGinnis is opening a new business in Horse Cave and wants to be able to tell visitors what is in the area and about her own business.

One of the stops was at McGinnis’ art gallery and bakery she and her husband are opening soon. They are presently renovating the building.

Monica Conrad, park manager for Barren River Lake State Resort Park, took the tour and shared with others what the state park has to offer. Conrad believes staying abreast of other area attractions is important.

“We encourage all of our front desk clerks, frontline employees, restaurant folks, people who work in the golf division or in the gift shop, to let guests know what we have in the area, how they can spend their day. If they are staying at the park for a couple of days we encourage them to go out and see attractions in Cave City. We encourage them to go spend the day at Mammoth Cave National Park. We try to expose our employees of those areas so they are knowledgeable and able to assist our guests,” she said.

The state park provides information about other attractions, Conrad said, because they want tourists to stay as long as possible in the area.

“We feel like if they can stay longer and experience more of our county they will benefit from it,” she said.

The tour also attracted officials from outside the area.

Amanda Hatcher, with the Morgantown-Butler County Chamber of Commerce, took the tour with her husband, Eric.

“This isn’t that far away to send families for a great day of fun and entertainment,” she said.

Hatcher said she was not aware the caveland area had so much to offer.

“It’s got a lot more than what I thought,” she said.

During lunch the tour group heard from representatives with Mammoth Cave National Park, Barren River Lake State Resort Park, the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce, the Hart County Tourist Com-mission and Kentucky Reper-tory Theatre, among others.

Joining the tour group at lunch was Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Sparrow was pleased that CMA was hosting the tour and said she would like to see more communities do such things.

“This is a really good opportunity for people locally and we really like to encourage every community to do this. Some do, and typically at this time of year, but we sure wish more of our towns and tourism regions across the state would do this,” she said.

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