Frankfort, Ky.--Kentucky has plenty of scenic beauty along its roads and highways and now some of the most beautiful areas are featured in a new trail guide map and website that promotes travel and tourism in the Appalachian region. Developed through a partnership between the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and National Geographic Traveler magazine, the trail guides include 28 driving tours in 13 states, including two in eastern Kentucky.
The two Kentucky trails, the Kentucky Artisan Heritage Trail and the Kentucky Music Highway Trail, are part of a special map insert for the April issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine and a new section on the website www.visitappalachia.com. More than 900,000 copies of the insert will be distributed in Traveler and Kentucky will make available 20,000 maps from sites along the trails and in the eight interstate rest stops. The interactive map on the website allows information to be accessed by state, by route and by theme and will be linked to the state tourism website www.kentuckytourism.com plus other states.
The Kentucky Artisan Heritage Trail is a series of 17 smaller trails along which about 300 artists live and work. The Kentucky Music Trail, which runs along U.S. Highway 23, marks the birthplaces of well-known country music artists.
The debut of the website coincides with the distribution of the map in the magazine and a kick-off event in Washington D.C. sponsored by National Geographic. The driving trail map project is the second in a series to promote the Appalachian states and is a project of the Tourism Advisory Council for ARC.
Mike Cooper, commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Tourism, said the map highlights lesser known travel sites in the region which stretches from Mississippi to New York. “Geotourism is a growing area in the industry,” he said. “Travel based on geographical distinctiveness and a strong sense of place are both things that Kentucky’s Appalachian region has in abundance.”
Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama are part of the project. Kentucky’s cost to participate was about $10,000 which includes the four-color maps that will be distributed in-state.
Kimberly Clay, director of cultural heritage for the tourism department, represents the agency on the ARC advisory council. She said that the group is extremely excited to have another way to highlight the great tour opportunities in the Appalachian states and to showcase the arts, music, culture and history that are indigenous to the region in addition to its natural beauty. “The map is an opportunity to invite the world to visit Appalachia and Kentucky.”