Joe P. Asher
Plans are in the works to offer consolidated packages for Harlan tourist attractions in the near future. During a meeting on Tuesday, the Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission discussed options being considered.
Tourism Director Brandon Pennington said he is “excited” about what the commission is doing.
“I’ve been working with Elaine Wilson (executive director of the Office of Adventure Tourism) on this,” said Pennington. “Elaine approached Cumberland and Harlan about doing state travel packages where we put together a full three-day, two-night package — including hotel accommodations and including anything they wanted to do while they were here.”
Pennington said the commission would basically fill the role of travel agent.
“We would get a management fee out of it which would provide us with a new type of income and diversify us a little more.” said Pennington.
According to Pennington the packages would include all aspects of tourism in Harlan, such as hotels, Black Mountain Thunder ATV park and Zip Line, kayaking, Portal 31 and horseback tours.
“We’re putting these packages together and she (Wilson) will actually market it for us,” said Pennington. “We won’t have to do any of the marketing for it. We actually don’t have to do any kind of advertising. We just have to put the package together and act as a travel agent.”
Pennington explained the commission would collect a management fee for every package booked.
“We do the reservations… we get everything for them,” said Pennington. “Then they stop off at a one stop shop which is either Harlan Tourism or Cumberland Tourism. They pick everything up and then they go out.”
Commission Chairman Annie Fox asked if a fee would be received per person booked.
Pennington explained the fee would be levied based on packages, not on an individual basis.
“They pay us in advance for these packages,” said Pennington. “It’s not like we’re putting anything up front. There’s actually no loss here. All we have is gain.”
The commission is also considering the possibility of an adventure trade show.
“We’ve looked at specialized trade shows,” said Pennington. “We’ve never looked at doing a combined ‘everything that we offer’ trade show… If this is something that we would like to do I’m more than willing to start pursuing this.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org