CVB is courting bus tour operators

The Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau will play host to nine bus tour operators from seven states and Canada on Friday.

Mark Calitri, CVB president, said the idea is to “introduce them to Owensboro and put our community on their road map. These tour operators, if impressed, will book future bus group trips to visit Owensboro.”

He said, “Bus groups continue to be a profitable segment of business for most cities across the country.”


The American Bus Association says, “Motorcoach travel and tourism generates as many as 1.4 million jobs in communities across the United States, paying over $62 billion in wages and benefits.”

Friday’s agenda includes a live show at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, dinner at Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, a visit to the Smothers Park and the Riverwalk area, a tasting at O.Z. Tyler Distillery and a tour of the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.

“Our goal is to highlight our key features that include bluegrass, bourbon and barbecue,” Calitri said. “We have momentum now and must aggressively capitalize on the buzz and excitement about Owensboro.”

He said, “O.Z. Tyler is rapidly growing, the Bluegrass Hall of Fame has its concert schedule lined up and our three award-winning barbecue restaurants continue to receive rave reviews. We are selling the fact that Owensboro offers something authentic. We’re still the best-kept secret and, by bringing in groups of tour bus operators, it helps unveil the secret.”

“The success of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is part of the larger Owensboro story,” said Chris Joslin, the Hall of Fame’s executive director. “This is an opportunity for us to showcase this one-of-a-kind unique experience to tour operators from across the country.”

In August, Select Traveler magazine named Owensboro a “national music city.”

For at least 25 years, Owensboro has tried to attract bus tour groups on a regular basis.

But, in the past, it has always tapered off after awhile.

This time, with more local attractions, the CVB is hoping to sustain a steady number of bus tour groups each year.

Tour operators scheduled to visit on Friday include American Tour Guide Association and Mirage Tours, both of New York; Better Business Connection, Virginia; Eastide Transportation Services, South Carolina; Sarah Qey Travel, Texas; Heritage Tours, Kansas; Niagara Bound Tours, Ontario, Canada; BJC Travel, Illinois; and Destinations Travel and Tours, Ohio.

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