Kentucky's Secretary of Commerce was the keynote speaker at the Tri-City chamber of commerce annual awards banquet Thursday night in Harlan County.
George Ward says adventure tourism in the region could bring a great amount of money into the area.
He compared eastern Kentucky to an uncommercialized Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The chamber also handed out several awards, including the Tony Turner award to WYMT news director Neil Middleton.
Other award recipients included:
Business-Ken's Custom Tees
Volunteer-Ms. Pauline White
Local Historian-Mr. Ron Collier
Community Development-Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College
Youth Development-Cumberland Head Start
Industry-Thrift Bit Service
Civic Organization-Harlan Chamber of Commerce
President's Award-Barbara Ayers