WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers announced Wednesday that $700,000 was approved by a key congressional committee for continued support of the Southern & Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association. As part of the FY09 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, the funding for SEKTDA will sustain critical tourism-based economic development and training.
"Higher gas prices means working families and recreating seniors are seeking closer to home vacation spots and southern and eastern Kentucky is open for business," stated Rogers. "Whether it's taking in spectacular Cumberland Falls, climbing in the Red River Gorge, spotting elk in Breathitt County, or catching a show at the Mountain Arts Center, SEKTDA leads the charge in attracting these visitors to come enjoy our region's history, adventure tourism, entertainment, and scenic beauty."
The tourism and travel industry contributed over $1.3 billion annually in the region, supporting 20,000 jobs. Statewide, there is $10.1 billion in annual impact from tourism.
SEKTDA is a nonprofit organization created in 1987 to promote and coordinate tourism throughout Southern and Eastern Kentucky in an effort to contribute to the economic and cultural growth of the region. SEKTDA utilizes these funds to train small business operators, community leaders, and entrepreneurs in hospitality, marketing, customer retention, and business plan development.
The Financial Services funding bill was favorably passed out of the Appropriations Committee on June 25, 2008 and is due to be considered by the full House of Representatives later this summer. In addition to this funding, Rogers has secured over $4 million over the past five years for SEKTDA. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers works to secure funding for important initiatives in the Fifth Congressional District.