Monday, March 31, 2014

Students Help research ecotourism in E. Ky.

College students are helping officials in Elkhorn City gather research to promote ecotourism.

Elkhorn City attorney Tim Belcher says the area offers several natural elements to draw tourists, including white-water rafting and trails for hiking. What Belcher doesn't have is research to convince local officials and residents that ecotourism will work.

College students from the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University are helping out with that aspect. They spent a recent weekend asking local residents how they feel about ecotourism. Earlier in the semester, they surveyed tourists in area campgrounds about why they were visiting.

Belcher says the students' work will help the city get designated as a trail town, which is one step that's needed to refocus the area's economy on ecotourism.