A new interactive, mobile-friendly walking tour is helping the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau get its latest foray into virtual tourism off on the right foot.
The self-guided audio tour is designed to introduce visitors to 30 different stops in the city’s downtown area which highlight Paducah’s local culture, history and architecture.
“This gives listeners an inside look at Paducah’s unique experiences,” said Laura Oswald, PCVB marketing director.
The new feature, which can be accessed through the PCVB website, paducah.travel/maps/historic-paducah-audio-tour, has similar points of interest to the bureau’s popular cellphone walking tour, according to Oswald.
“The platform is different, using mapping technology to curate the audio in a different format, so it’s really more interactive and user-friendly,” she said. “You can open it up on your phone, get directions to walk to the next point, listen to the audio and read a description.”
Stops on the tour include the Paducah riverfront, the National Quilt Museum, the circa-1865 Ernest Rehkopf building, the Carson Center and more. The PCVB website’s responsive design adapts to the type of device visitors choose.
“You could view it on your desktop from home and listen to the audio commentary that way, but the platform is really designed for mobile,” Oswald said.
The PCVB chose to launch the feature during the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Virtual Preservation Month, which features a different online experience every day celebrating historic places across America.
While the walking tour is designed to attract visitors to Paducah, Oswald expects it to attract local interest as well.
“That’s why we’re so excited to launch it at this time. It’s certainly a way for visitors to experience Paducah and tour Paducah virtually right now,” she said, with COVID-19 concerns on everyone’s mind.
“But it’s also a great way for locals to see their own city with new eyes, maybe engage in a new way as they spend more time outside when it gets nice, in accordance with social distancing guidelines.”
According to Oswald, virtual tourism has become even more popular over the past few months during the coronavirus crisis. It provides destination marketing organizations like PCVB the opportunity to keep the city’s attractions top of mind.
“As the restrictions are lifted and people want to get out and explore there will be a lot of close-to-home exploration happening, with people hosting family and friends,” she said.
“We really like this opportunity to help equip locals to be proud of their home and be ambassadors.”