Mark Calitri speaks tourism: Owensboro Kentucky named one of ten American Music City Destinations by Brand USA

Mark Calitri speaks tourism: Owensboro Kentucky named one of 10 American Music City Destinations

The city of Owensboro will be featured among 10 must-see destinations this year by a company that markets travel to and within the United States.
Brand USA will promote tourism to several major cities and states as part of a campaign that encourages authentic American experiences. Included on the list of 10 are Austin, Texas, Detroit, Miami, Las Vegas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee, New Orleans, Owensboro and West Hollywood, California.
Mark Calitri, Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director, made the announcement during a report before Daviess Fiscal Court Thursday evening.
“We’re hoping to put together a really big campaign behind that this spring,” Calitri said. “Hopefully the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp. will join us. You just can’t buy that type of national exposure, and we’ll try to capitalize on it.”
Although it may seem Owensboro is a bit out of its league on the list, especially among major economic centers such as Detroit, Las Vegas and New Orleans, Calitri said the region is uniquely positioned in a part of the country Brand USA is targeting right now both culturally and geographically.
No longer are international travel agencies just pointing potential customers toward famous U.S. beaches or centers for meetings, incentives conferences and exhibitions, he said. Rather, tourists are interested in seeing and experiencing the places and people that form a true American identity.
Owensboro, with the world’s only Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, its burgeoning bourbon economy and rich history in a particular style of European-influenced barbecue might be just the kind of flavor those new types of international travelers are looking for, he said.
“We’re certainly the outlier on this list,” Calitri said, “but people are looking for something authentic and unique, and I think Owensboro has just that.”
Calitri also told Fiscal Court the CVB had partnered with the bluegrass museum, O.Z. Tyler Distillery and Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn to advertise those famous Daviess County institutions at the Evansville Regional Airport near a security checkpoint. By sharing resources, he noted, all the partners were able to keep their costs at a minimum.
Judge-Executive Al Mattingly noted that a third downtown Owensboro hotel, the construction of which has been delayed, according to city leaders, by a lack of nearby parking, may add to Owensboro’s popularity as a statewide destination for conventions once its built.
“It will change the landscape of the convention business in this community,” Mattingly said.
Calitri agreed, saying that construction delays have held the community back from even more tourism opportunities.
Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, [email protected], Twitter: @austinrramsey
Visit Owensboro is the official destination marketing organization for Owensboro and Daviess County Kentucky.

Mark Calitri serves as President/CEO.