There's Only One Campaign Showcases Unique Kentucky Attractions

Whether it is history, outdoor splendor, underground exploration, horses or bourbon, Kentucky gives visitors many options to explore.

Pamela Coyle
On Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - 10:04

From the Kentucky Derby's home at Churchill Downs to Red River Gorge to the Louisville Slugger Museum, travelers and their dollars make a major impact on Kentucky.

Tourism is the state’s third-largest industry, a rich and diverse experience that stretches well beyond horses and bourbon to include outdoor wonders, underground exploration, and unique museums and cultural attractions.

In Butcher Hollow, there’s the childhood home of country music singers Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Nature’s amazing Cumberland Falls produces a nighttime rainbow – or “moonbow” – whenever the moon is full and the sky is clear.

Tourism accounts for more than an $11 billion annual economic impact for the state, and 170,000 Kentuckians are currently employed in the tourism industry.

“About $1 billion in taxes are raised each year, all because Kentucky is home to many unique places and attractions that can’t be found anywhere else,” says Hank Phillips, Kentucky Department of Travel commissioner.

There’s Only One

The Kentucky Department of Travel’s new There’s Only One campaign promotes 31 designated attractions that can only be seen and experienced in the Bluegrass State. More “only ones” will be designated in the future.

“For example,there’s only one Kentucky Derby, only one Birthplace of Bluegrass Music  and only one My Old Kentucky Home,” Phillips says. “Kentucky is also home to Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world, and the state also houses Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville.”


The Department of Travel began heavily marketing the There’s Only One campaign with several TV ads beginning in spring 2012. “The TV ads are 10 seconds long and highlight experiences that a visitor can have nowhere else in the world, except Kentucky,” Phillips says. “For example, one ad might show Bourbon Country, along with the Red River Gorge in Eastern Kentucky, and the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The ads really resonate and have received high marks from the state’s travel industry.”

 Colonel Sanders’ Restaurant

Kentucky offers a full range of unique sites and attractions that includes the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, the birthplace of bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe in Rosine and the Sanders Cafe in Corbin, Colonel Sanders' original restaurant and the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Owensboro is home to the annual International Barbecue Festival and the International Bluegrass Museum.


“We are the cradle of bluegrass music, located only 30 miles from where Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe was born,” says Gabrielle Gray, International Bluegrass Museum executive director. “We are the only museum in the world that showcases the true international story of bluegrass.”

The museum is marking the 100th anniversary of Monroe’s birth with a special exhibit that runs through Sept. 13, 2012.


Louisville's Museum Row includes the Frazier International History Museum, which has an exclusive agreement with British Royalty Armories to be the only location outside of Great Britain to display items owned by England’s royal family.

“If you can't get overseas to Leeds or the Tower of London, come to our museum to see amazing British treasures,” says Krista Snider, Frazier History Museum director of public relations.

The museum also houses artifacts such as Theodore Roosevelt’s big stick, Daniel Boone’s family Bible and a permanent exhibit devoted to Mary Todd Lincoln.

“We tested the campaign with out-of-state focus groups, and we were told two wonderful things: First, that the participants came away with new specific reasons to visit Kentucky, and two, that they gained a new perception of the state as being more special and unique than they had previously realized,” Phillips says. “As Kentuckians, we know how special Kentucky is. Now we have a campaign that conveys that to the rest of the world.”