Richardson said visiting the area helps people better understand the history behind the miniseries. One common misconception people have, he said, is that the families were neighbors. They actually lived 6 hours apart on foot or 4 hours apart on horseback.
"If you want to learn about this story," he said, "you need to come and see the actual sites."
He estimates the anticipated tourism boost will yield hundreds of thousands of dollars in short-term earnings and millions of dollars in the long term.
"We have more tourism assets now than Branson, Mo., and Pigeon Forge started out with," he said.
He said the challenge is to make sure tourists enjoy their time in Southern West Virginia so they'll want to see the rest of the state.
"Fifteen years ago, we didn't have any offerings related to tourism," Richardson said. "We've become a great destination that's going to draw people to the state of West Virginia."
From 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, the History Channel will show the locally produced documentary "America's Greatest Feud: The History of the Hatfields & McCoys," followed by the entire miniseries.
The full miniseries also is available here.
Reach Alison Matas at alison.ma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.