Country music competition to improve tourism

It is a country music competition meant to bring people to their highway.

The Country Music Highway Road to Fame has been a series of events all encouraging tourism in the area.

These artists brought more than talent to the stage at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.

"Everything that comes into this area helps the whole area, and this right here is a really great thing for that," said Jean Combs, a father of a contestant who lives in Isom.

With each seat filled and ticket sold, money is invested in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Tourism officials say the Country Music Highway Road to Fame was designed to shine light on local talent, but especially on U.S. Route 23.

"I think once they come here to Kentucky and listen to the music and see the scenery, they'll wanna come back," said Peggy Pack, a mother of two contestants who live in McDowell.

Tourism bureaus in Paintsville, Pikeville, and Prestonsburg report tourism investments have grown from 30 million to 170 million in the last 20 years, which is a number officials in the area hope continues to climb.

"They have stopped and bought gas, they have gone to restaurants to have dinner, and we have many now that we can attribute to room nights along the highway and that helps increase tourism and improve what we have in eastern Kentucky," said Cindy Wheat, the executive director of Paintsville Tourism.

Tourism officials say the idea is to use the natural resources eastern Kentucky is blessed with to better showcase what this area has to offer.

Tourism officials hope to brighten the future of eastern Kentucky with events like these while also helping talent in the area get recognized.

Logan Hall of Virgie was named the winner of this year's competition.


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