OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) With more events returning to the calendar this summer, tourism officials in Owensboro are using a new way to bring in more visitors.

They’re turning to social media influencers, and their thousands of online followers.

There are a lot of ways cities like Owensboro are trying to bring tourists into town, whether they’d be online articles or commercials on TV. But now they’re trying a new approach, going from who has the most readers or viewers, to who has the most social media followers.

“I think it’s more or less about bringing some exposure to Owensboro. I’m so proud of our city,” said Nicollette Vizuet, who has about 13,000 Instagram followers, and runs her own fashion blog. She says she wants to show off the city where she’s from and calls home.

“Being able to bring some of my girlfriends in and highlighting some of the different parts of Owensboro they might not know about, I think it’s going to bring some awareness for some of their followers,” she said.

A group of six social media influencers is being brought in by Visit Owensboro to highlight some of the city’s attractions, events like Friday After 5 and restaurants around the city. The group coming next weekend has a total of about 130,000 followers.

“Making social media splashes, it’s nothing new, but it is a space we haven’t been able to explore a whole lot,” said Dave Kirk of Visit Owensboro. He also says they wanted to try it after noticing a growing number of people turn to social media for travel advice.

“We are starting to see a lot of people making their travel decisions based off of social media, a very high percentage, nearly 50%,” he said. “We thought, well if we can get people in here that have these followings and help people decide where they are going to go to, and talk about Owensboro, that opens the door for leisure tourism for us.”

“It’s going to make you go back and look at something you have seen previously, from one of these post, or somebody may be close enough and go, ‘Hey, that looks like a great spot for the weekend. We should go check it out,'” Vizuet explained.

Kirk also says Visit Owensboro and some of the businesses are covering some expenses.

(This story was originally published on June 30, 2021)