KTIA conference returns for first time since 2007

The Kentucky Travel Industry Association will bring its annual conference to Owensboro Tuesday through Thursday for the first time since 2007, when the Executive Inn Rivermont was still in business.

“The largest attendance KTIA has produced is around 375 in Louisville in 2017,” Mark Calitri, president and CEO of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said last week. “They are expecting about 350 in Owensboro, which means they expect a great turnout, even though it’s coming so far away from the central part of the state.”

He said, “What this conference does is put Owensboro on the map. It allows us to showcase our incredible bourbon, barbecue and, of course, bluegrass music to the top tourism professionals from all across the commonwealth. It also helps us sell out our downtown hotels and is creating spillover into our hotels on south Frederica and off Kentucky 54. So, this conference creates quite an economic impact as well.”

Calitri said, “We hope by hosting a successful conference that KTIA will come back to Owensboro in the near future.”

Rex Chapman, former basketball star at Apollo High School, the University of Kentucky and four NBA teams, will be the keynote speaker at the convention’s opening breakfast at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday is registration day.

A “voluntourism” event will be at Puzzle Pieces at 8:45 a.m.

A barbecue tour is scheduled for 9:15 a.m.

“Bowling for Bourbon” is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Diamond Lanes South.

And the opening reception will be at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, Scott Jennings, a CNN political commentator and a former special assistant to President George W. Bush, will analyze the Nov. 6 election results and their implications for the travel industry.

Also scheduled are discussions about the bourbon industry and tourism, women’s leadership, Google’s latest trends, the state of tourism in Kentucky, hotel trends and outlooks, and tailoring marketing to specific audiences.

On Thursday, the convention wraps up with discussions about international tourism and improving observational skills.

Messenger-Inquirer article written by Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, [email protected]