National Geographic asking for local input for tourism map

A well-known national magazine is visiting western Kentucky this week, and it’s asking for your input to make a map that hopefully encourages more tourism and economic growth in several counties in our area.

National Geographic is creating an online interactive map of places to visit along the Mississippi River. It’s working with the Kentucky Great River Region Organization to find the best spots to visit in the river counties: Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton, and Hickman.

They will be at Columbus-Belmont state park this Thursday at 10 a.m. There, you can nominate your favorite places of interest, businesses, or events.

Kentucky Great River Region Organization, or KYGRRO, Executive Director Norma Pruitt says there’s so much information out there, it’s going to take businesses and locals to submit it. “Let them be a part of those decisions that are really going to impact them. It’s going to impact their businesses. It’s going to impact their family income,” Pruitt said.

National Geographic will then compile everything and release a map this summer. It’s national attention Brian Harper hopes Harper’s Country Hams can get again. National Geographic published a story on his grandfather and grandmother in 1960 as part of an article on spots along the lower Mississippi.

“A lot of people found out about our company through that…I really hope the number of the businesses and attractions here gets featured. I think it would be great for the county,” Harper said.

Pruitt says growth is possible in the river counties; you just have to know how to market them. She’s added at least 65 more sites to this brochure since KYGRRO started its promotion two years ago.

“That, to me, is my measurement that we are growing,” Pruitt said.

To nominate, visit: http://mississippiriver.natgeotourism.com/. From there, create an account. It will then allow you to upload pictures and describe the spot you’ve chosen to nominate. The map will be available this summer online.

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