O'boro hotels and restaurants join forces in new organization - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

O'boro hotels and restaurants join forces in new organization

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A new organization is taking shape in Owensboro.

The Hospitality Association will begin its work in just over a month.

Those involved with the project say it's the first of its kind for the area. 

To help account for Owensboro's large tourism industry, the association will consist of both hotels and restaurants.

Right now, there are separate associations for those two entities, but not one together.

The joint group is something organizers, like Ruth Ann Dearness, are excited to bring to western Kentucky.

"There is a lot going on," said Dearness. "We are in such a unique position with what has happened downtown. It is so exciting."

Dearness is the general manager of the Owensboro Courtyard by Marriott and explains that organizations like this have worked well in other places.

"We took a look at some other cities comparable and realized they were combining forces with their restaurants, with their hotels, with their events," said Dearness. 

Tourism officials point out that the association can help other restaurants and hotels that are members.

"I think the most important thing about the hospitality association is the fact that they will be able to network with each other," said Karen Miller with the Owensboro-Daviess County CVB. "They will have a better understanding of the people that do come into Owensboro."

When it comes to Owensboro, Dearness says it's about making visitors feel right at home.

"We need them to know that and know how to make our guests who come into our town have that Owensboro hospitality experience," she said. 

The association becomes official after the first of the year.

In addition to Dearness, one of the Hospitality Organization's other major organizers is Larry Kirk of The Miller house.

Hospitality training will also be a central focus of the group. 

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