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Kentucky Journal
January 31st

Well as I came down this morning I got greeted with "Happy Birthday" and indeed I am another year older <gulp>.

Deb offered me all kinds of good things for my birthday breakfast so I got biscuits and gravy with eggs, bacon and sausage and a cinnamon roll for afters.  Admit to being slightly full after that lot but it was an excellent way to start the day on a snowy cold but sunny Saturday in Kentucky.

Yesterday I had a long conversation with Jim about trying to promote this area as it has a tremendous amount of things to recommend it even though it is a poor area of America in financial terms.  They actually have two of the top 10 visitor attractions in the USA with Hillbilly Day and the Hatfield McCoy Trail. I've put a link to both on the journal home page.

One of the real problems as I see it is finding accommodation.  There really aren't enough hotels, motels, B & B's in this area to really attract a lot of people.  For Hillbilly Days most folk come in RV's and so they don't have a problem but folk coming in from overseas would likely find problems. I'd like to explore this with the local folk to see if they couldn't do a better job at providing information on local accommodation as I think many would love to come for a two week holiday, attend the HillBilly Days then take in the Hatfield-McCoy trails and just see some of the great scenery and other things available in the area.  The people are of course a great attraction as they still have a lot of the old time courtesy to strangers.  Like Jim was saying... "if you break down in this area someone will always stop to see if you need help".

I find a lot of similarities all over the world. Just like I've always been very critical of Scottish tourism for not promoting Scotland properly this area has the same problems.  I've never really understood why our tourism agencies don't make better use of the web.  They all seem to think that if they put up a tourism page everyone will fall over themselves to come visit but when you really look at their sites they are really very uninspiring. I think I blame our marketing people as they do seem to me to be stuck in the past.  They lack real innovation in selling and presentation of the product.  I mean all Marketing people all over the world but especially in America which used to be the salesman's mecca. When you look back in time most of the really major companies were known for their innovation, risk taking, etc. and through all that they made it big time. But now they are major they seem to actively discourage innovation and risk taking. 

As an aside on this it's always been my opinion that Television people are probably the worst for holding us all back.  They, more than anyone, direct what we think by providing the news they think we need to see. Everything has to be dramatic, staged, or it goes into the bucket.  We're conditioned to watching hours of pathetic adverts, which haven't really changed since commercial TV was invented.  Poor miserable little people just want to churn out more and more adverts and give us less and less program time.  They can't think of any way to give us better advertising but less of it. No brains in my opinion. And as the great viewing public don't seem to be able to do anything about it there is no incentive to change.  It's like when I first arrived here Steve had a trial of a new service that offered some 300 channels to watch.  I mean Electric Scotland has more daily visitors than many of these TV channels get in the same period.  I could go on and on about what I think is all wrong with that media but I won't bore you to death with my thoughts :-)

All of that said I just think we need to market our areas much better to really show what is on offer and until some enthusiastic people get together and get some reasonable funding it's just not going to happen.  I note that an amazing number of you enjoyed my photo journal when I was staying in the Highlands of Scotland and in particular enjoyed the pictures I took while driving.  This gave a real idea on what the roads looked like and what the scenery was like while driving on them. You just don't get that on tourism sites and yet the cost of doing it is minor.  All you need to do is send someone to drive a route and take lots of photographs. Again our Marketing people wouldn't even think of doing that showing once again how they lack any kind of innovation. The sites that often do the best job of promoting an area are ones done by enthusiastic local people, usually in their own time and from their own resources.

Anyway... I do plan to do more in this area of Kentucky to try and build you a picture of what it is like. That's of course after my visa is all sorted out :-)

And to finish... thanks to my old friend Ranald McIntyre who reminded me of my birthday when I opened up my email...

Umpty third Birthday
And no, you don't look a day older!!
Just because your time in the US
is behind the UK
Does not mean that you are any younger!!

Chucks... I thought I was at least 5 hours younger Ranald!!!  <grin>

And as a final note... we finally got TV back in the May household and yes we are getting back to being couch potatoes! :-)  In protest I went out and bought myself a copy of Civilisation III just so I could play a game on the computer instead of watching TV :-)  I promptly lost the first time and was rated "pathetic" so after that I can only improve <grin>.

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