Kentucky tourism

Marshal Ray

Southern Kentucky is seeing a huge boost in tourism spending. A new study shows a 10-county region including Barren, Logan, Simpson and Warren Counties had a nearly seven percent increase in tourism receipts last year.

The numbers come from the annual Kentucky Tourism Economic Impact Report released this week.

Telia Butler is a spokeswoman for the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says the spike in regional tourism is due in part to several new Warren County attractions and events.                     

“We’ve got the Mid-South Conference athletic  championships,” says Butler. “They announced their partnership with Bowling Green to host all kinds of their championships with sports at the beginning of 2015 and they’ve been here all year.”

She says new motor sports events also added to the growth in tourism. The first full year of operation for the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park drew a large number of visitors.

Emil Moffatt

Kentucky added over 1,700 jobs in the tourism sector last year, bringing the total number of commonwealth residents employed in the tourism industry to 175,000.  Bob Stewart, Kentucky’s Secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage says the number of jobs dependent on visitors is actually a lot more. 

“We think about the front-line folks, but there are lots of other jobs,” said Stewart. “People who are involved in marketing; people who are involved in management of business and attractions and so-forth and so-on. It really does ripple through the economy.”

Overall, Kentucky saw a 2.6 percent boost in tourism spending, bringing the overall economic impact to $12.6 billion in 2013. 

Stewart says the Bourbon Trail and so-called “adventure tourism”, or activities that make use of the state’s natural resources – are among the reasons for the boost in tourists.  He also says the number of industry conventions and business meetings are also on the rise. 

Kevin Willis

A new report says the economic impact of tourism in Kentucky grew again last year.

The study reports a $12 billion impact for tourism last year.  That's up about four and a half percent from the previous year. In addition, the report credits tourism for 174,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in wages.

In a statement, tourism officials give partial credit to growth of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

The series of distilleries has drawn steady interest since it's inception in 1999, but broke an attendance record last year, drawing over half a million visitors.