According to Bell County Tourism Director Judy Barton, tourism, in 2010, had a major impact on the Bell County economy bringing in over $41 million. In the state of Kentucky, tourism accounted for $11 billion of the economy.
The tourism board has worked with several entities in an attempt to promote Bell County. Agencies/organizations the board has worked with include the Kentucky Official Visitors Guide, Kentucky Travel Guide, Kentucky Living, and many other magazines and guides. Tourism invested in a full page ad in a recent visitors guide to help promote the county.
Bell County is represented as a region is several shows as well. The county is represented at the Madden CEOnline Campaign, WLE- TV, the Cincinnati Sport Show, AAA Magazines, and many others.
The tourism board also organizes local car shows. Barton and the board also helps DDM in some areas, as well as Adventure Tourism.
Adventure Tourism has been widely based around ATV activities. Some of the goals of Adventure Tourism is to witness the creation of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses that cater to adventure tourism, and to constantly expand and improve outdoor recreation to bring different genres of tourist in the area.
Over the years, with the help of the Asher Family, the Bell County Fiscal Court, and the Holler Crawlers, Adventure Tourism has grown. Last year, the Haunted Forest ride brought in over 4,000 tourist to the area. At next year’s event, they hope to break the world record for most ATVs in a parade.
The Haunted Forest ride also gave the area national attention. Fisher’s ATV World was at the event and recorded one of their shows there.
The Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park (WTOP) is available year round. It offers 100 miles of off-road trails, places to fish, and places to camp. The park is free.
WTOP recently applied for a Yamaha grant for $30,000. This will provide for new wooded trails and roadside signage. There is also hopes to expand the trail system.
In 2011, the Fiscal Court received a RTP grant of $52,000. This grant will be used to clear the 12 miles of hiking trails located in the Pine Mountain State Resort Park, as well as add interpretative panels, footbridges and stairs on two of the trials.
One way that Adventure Tourism is looking to expand is by adding horseback riding trails. This will be done in an attempt to widen the type of tourist that come to the county. Plans are also under way to increase Adventure Tourism related events in the future.