Walker County hopes to increase tourism through new "Walker Rocks" initiative
The Walker County government and Chamber of Commerce have decided on a new focus: Walker Rocks. They are hoping the initiative will re-brand the county's outdoor tourism industry.
The government and Chamber said they noticed people from all over the country are coming to Walker County to take advantage of the area's rock climbing, caving, kayaking and hiking.
They want Walker Rocks to encourage more visitors to explore the area.
Robert Wardlaw, who is the Economic and Community Development Director for the Walker County government, said Walker Rocks creates a great opportunity for growth.
"Walker County is the outdoor adventure destination of the south. Those who come to ride horses, hike to waterfalls or venture through our caves will spend money here, increasing demand for new businesses, such as outfitters, restaurants and hotels," said Wardlaw.
The tourism industry supported 640 jobs in Walker County and generated over $63 million in direct tourist spending in 2016.
President of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce Lacey Wilson said the positive effects of tourism are easy to see and hopes there's more to come.
"It's definitely trackable through sales tax revenue and also the direct tourist spending that we're able to track. So our hope is that in the next few years we'll be able to look back at where we are today and see that we made significant progress," said Wilson.
As a part of Walker Rocks, there's a pitch competition called the "Walker Rocks Start-up Challenge" that will allow travel, recreational or hospitality businesses to start or expand their business. The winner of the competition will get a $5,000 grant. Applications are available here. They're due by August 20th.