Four Bell Countians receive tourism award

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Cumberland Gap Regional Tourism Association (CGRTA) has designed four Bell Countians as winners of the 2018 Region Strong Award.

Bell County Tourism Director Jon Grace, Jacob Roan of Main Street Pineville, Jeannie Allen Redmond of Selling to the World and Emily Ayers of Middlesboro Main Street were selected for the award.

Brandon Pennington of Harlan Tourism also received the award.

“Congrats to fellow Bell Countians Roan, Redmond, and Ayers and to Brandon Pennington and to all of the other recipients,” Grace said. “I am beyond honored to be chosen to receive this award from the Cumberland Gap Regional Tourism Association. It’s been amazing to see how our 10 county region has shattered the old stereotypes of being only concerned about our respective cities and counties and instead pool our efforts and resources into trying to bring change to the entire region.”

The CGRTA is made up Bell, Harlan, Knox and Whitley counties in Kentucky, Lee County, Virginia and Claiborne, Campbell, Grainger, Hancock and Union counties in Tennessee.

According to agency director Carl Nichols, when the organization was first organized and chartered there were two objectives in mind — to promote the region and the many historical sites, attractions and adventures and to promote small businesses within the region so out-of-town guests know where to shop, eat and stay while visiting.

“The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors selected eleven people within the region they felt are making outstanding accomplishments to help make the region a vacation destination,” Nichols said. “Congratulations!”

CGRTA is a winner itself, having been named 2018 Destination Marketing Organization of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association.

“Thanks to Carl Nichols for the time, money, and effort he invests into marketing our region,” Grace said. “He’s an integral part of why we are making regional progress.The CGRTA is an amazing organization that is a beacon of positivity for the Tri State area.”

Upcoming events sponsored by Bell County Tourism include Inside Government Badge Workshops for Juniors at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m., Ward Davis and Tennessee Jet at Bell Theater on Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. and Winter Photography Weekend at Pine Mountain State Resort Park Jan. 25-27.