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Tourism industry has $13B economic impact, supports 180,000 jobs

Lt. Gov. remarks at Kentucky Travel Industry Annual Conference

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2015) — Kentucky’s travel and tourism industry has a $13 billion economic impact on the state, a $2.2 billion increase from five years ago, Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen said today at the Kentucky Travel Industry Annual Conference. Tourism supports 180,000 jobs statewide, Luallen said.

“Kentucky is on the move, and tourism is a big part of this success,” Luallen said. “Working with our travel and tourism partners, we’ve showcased to the world Kentucky’s remarkable beauty and resources, from our magnificent mountains, unique cave system and recreation lakes, to our one-of-a-kind Kentucky Bourbon Trail destinations and world-famous thoroughbred industry.”

Luallen told the group that tourism is being recognized as an economic force throughout the commonwealth and nation. She noted the Kentucky General Assembly established a standing committee to review and discuss issues associated with the industry, and the Shaping our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative, named a tourism working group to capitalize on the region’s rich natural amenities and potential for economic development and job creation. And the White House has established a national travel and tourism strategy, she said, recognizing that efforts to make America the top tourist destination in the world offers a tremendous opportunity to create jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy.

Luallen added that as our lives become increasingly technology-based, it’s more important than ever that people have the opportunity for “an authentic experience.”

“Tourism gives us that,” she said. “That’s why your industry is so important, not just to the economic well-being of our state, but to the fundamental well-being of our people.”

Luallen recognized five national parks in Kentucky as part of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. She presented proclamations to representatives of the parks, including the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace; Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area; Cumberland Gap National Historic Park; Fort Donelson National Battlefield; and Mammoth Cave National Park. The proclamation from Gov. Steve Beshear proclaims the year 2016 as the National Park Service Centennial in Kentucky.

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