It appears that ol’ Hambo’s creationist tourist attraction, Ark Encounter, an exact replica of Noah’s Ark, is bringing the blessings of heaven to Grant County, Kentucky, where it is situated. Our clandestine operative in Kentucky, code named “Blue Grass,” informed us of this news item in the Grant County News: Their headline is Tourism brings unlimited possibilities to Grant Co..
It was written by Jamie S. Baker, executive director of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Authority and Tourist and Convention Commission. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
If you haven’t noticed, Grant County has a lot more visitors these days than ever before. It might have something to do with the life-size replica of Noah’s Ark that sits off Ky. 36 in Williamstown. Since the Ark opened in July 2016, thousands of visitors have made their way to Grant County.
Fascinating! Then she says:
Did you know that tourism is the third largest producer of revenue in Kentucky? According to figures released from the Kentucky Department of Tourism on Monday, 10 percent of all employment in Kentucky is created by the travel industry, which amounts to 195,000 jobs created by the industry, which translates to $1.5 billion in taxes with $202 [sic] going directly to local communities. WOW!
Wow indeed. After that she tells us:
Tourism is funded by a 3 percent transient room tax. hat means that if you stay in a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, Airbnb or Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO), you pay a 3 percent room tax to Grant County. This money is used to advertise and promote Grant County including the Ark, our lakes, parks, specialty shops, restaurants, lodging, etc. to the rest of the state and even on a national level.
Isn’t that great? The state is promoting Hambo’s ark. Does she mention the kick-back Hambo’s organization gets from that tax? They get a rebate of 25% of the sales tax the ark pays to the state — see Joy to the World — The Ark Is Approved. No, she doesn’t talk about that. The news article continues:
You may have seen some of the commercials on Channel 19 or ads in Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living promoting local events such as Hansel Sullivan Memorial Tractor Pull, Derby Day, Rockin The Ridge, the U.S. 25 Yard Sale and Paddle Williamstown. These were paid for by tourism dollars.
No, we haven’t seen those commercials. The article goes on and on, describing the wonderful work of the Grant County Tourist and Convention Commission, but there’s no mention’s Hambo or his ark. Let’s skip that and read on:
At a recent tourism meeting in Frankfort that I attended, one of the state’s tourism officials said that the state had made a mistake when it projected how many visitors would be coming to the Ark. [Too high, or too low?] He went on to say that visitors to the Ark are exploring Kentucky in general and are driving up attendance at every Kentucky attraction including stops on the Bourbon Trail, Kentucky Horse Park, the Louisville Slugger Museum, Newport Aquarium, even the Cincinnati Zoo.
And they’re drooling all the way. Another excerpt:
The Ark is a world-class attraction, it’s in our backyard and people are coming in droves to see it. On several days last summer, there were 32 busses at the Ark. Yes, you read that right – 32 busses on the same day. That’s a lot of visitors.
Ooooooooooooh! Here’s more:
I think we’ll continue to see businesses open and new things come to the county. By the nature of business, we’ll also see some businesses close and struggle. It all starts right here and it all starts with each one of us. Grant County has an opportunity like it’s never had before and probably won’t ever get again. It’s going to take time, money, patience and a cooperative spirit to get us to that next level.
Ooooooooooooh! The next level. What would that be? A Sodom and Gomorrah theme park? And now we come to the end:
But what an exciting time with unlimited possibilities as we transition from being a pass-through community or just a gas and go stop on Interstate-75 to a regional destination where visitors came come and sample Grant County and Kentucky’s beautiful scenery, southern charm, delicious food, horses, bourbon and where they can have an authentic adventure.
There’s no doubt about it, dear reader. Hambo’s ark is the biggest thing to happen in that region since … well, since the great global Flood. We imagine that ol’ Hambo will be blogging about this article, but we’ll probably ignore it. We can only handle a limited amount of this stuff.
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