Tourism titles bring more visitors to Bardstown - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Tourism titles bring more visitors to Bardstown

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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) - It's been dubbed the place to go for tourists who want to get that classic small town feel and Bardstown is capitalizing on some national recognition.

It
could be the charming downtown streets, carriage rides showing off pieces of Kentucky history, or maybe it's the shops, food, or bourbon.

The Kentucky town has been classified as the place to go."You can't buy that kind of exposure," said Dawn Przystal, Director of Tourism in Bardstown-Nelson County.

You also can't miss the signs. Bardstown was awarded "Most Beautiful Small Town in America" by Rand McNally and USA Today in 2012. Then, Travel and Leisure recognized the town square as one of their favorites. Last month, Bardstown landed on Fodor's list for "Best Small Towns."

"Anytime we get a major recognition, we notice huge spikes in web travel, we notice people saying 'we heard about you for this, we want to go see this beautiful small town,' and so it does make a difference," Przystal said. It's been incorporated into the town's advertising and tourism. Officials say Bardstown has experienced a four or five percent increase in tourism over the past two years.

"We have a very high number of repeat visitors, so people will come back year after year, partly because they love the small town, they love to kind of get away and take a breather -- and then for a small town, we have a lot to offer," Przystal said. A bump in tourism has translated into more sales for downtown restaurants and shops.

Mary Carey, owner of "At Mary's," a boutique in downtown Bardstown, has noticed more foot traffic."We get people from everywhere, everywhere, even international as well too," said Carey. With more people buying, she's hired more employees."We're staying open later, staying open on holidays -- as a result it's paid off," she continued.

Some of the merchandise in Carey's store shows how important the bourbon industry is to this community. "The bourbon industry has fueled the economy in this area for so long, that it is a big rich part of Bardstown," said Barton 1792 Visitor Center Manager Josh Hollifield. Now, the town's national titles are helping bring visitors to the distillery."So, we draw a lot of our tourism not only from the bourbon industry because were lesser know, but from just general Bardstown tourism," Hollifield said. "We're doing about 30 percent increase year after year."

So whether it's Bardstown's attractions, businesses, or just the people living here -- more and more out of towners are stopping by. They hope the tourists and awards keep coming.

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