SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — As the U.S. Travel Association calls on Congress to quickly pass emergency relief legislation for all segments of the travel industry, there is encouraging news in Shelby County. ShelbyKY Tourism President/CEO Chenelle McGee and Shelby County Industrial & Development Foundation President/CEO Ray Leathers share updates about business growth, jobs and tourism:
- 10 industries are expanding and adding up to 400 jobs in Shelby County.
- Lodging occupancy rates and restaurant sales are tracking up since April 2020. (Source: STR’s Destination Report)
- Experiencing a 10% increase in a year’s time, ShelbyKY had the highest growth rate statewide for visitor spending in 2019. (Source: Kentucky Dept. of Tourism)
Citing growth for 10 ShelbyKY industries, Leathers notes:
- A $7.5 million expansion and additional 25 employees for Sigma Stretch Film.
- Maxey Logistics adds 25 employees with plans to launch an injection molding facility and increase assembly business.
- Having expanded four times since coming to Shelbyville, Nifco adds 78,000 s.f. of warehouse space for future programs.
“We estimate these expansions will result in 300-400 new jobs to pre-COVID levels,” said Leathers. “This growth showcases the advantage of Shelby County’s location, quality-of-life, low cost of doing business, extensive infrastructure, strong work ethic of our region, and commitment of local/state government to economic development.”
McGee added, “Tourism promotion is a tool that helps our local community by putting people to work and making our small town a delightful place to live. Tourism supports countless jobs in Shelby County, saves every household $344 per year in taxes and improves the local economy.”
Speaking of the local economy, new data show visitors are beginning to feel safer as COVID restrictions continue to lift. “We are seeing a steady rate of recovery, with a 21% increase in occupancy compared to April (our lowest monthly rate on record). These numbers do not include our Airbnb properties, which are also experiencing a major recovery over the last few months and are up 25% since April. At the same time, sales averages for Shelbyville and Simpsonville restaurants are up 49% since April 2020.”
While restaurants and lodges are rising in demand, the lack of reserves due to previous closures remain a concern, said McGee. “There is great need for Congressional relief bills and legislative support to boost recovery for the entire tourism and travel industry, including ShelbyKY. We are encouraged by the support our locals and visitors alike have had in backing our community. As we move into our slower seasons, these businesses need assistance now more than ever.”
To restore lost jobs and spur an economic recovery, the U.S. Travel Association is calling on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass its newly introduced relief bill, which includes the enhancement and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to provide aid to destination marketing organizations. More on that may be found online.
This positive trajectory being seen in ShelbyKY is coupled with new research from Kentucky’s Department of Tourism. “The Kentucky Department of Tourism report indicates visitors are enjoying the balance of the rural countryside and luxury-crafted experiences ShelbyKY has to offer. Figures show visitor spending in ShelbyKY increased by $4.3 million in a year’s time (2018: $42.6 vs 2019: $46.9). As we continue to develop and recreate how we do business in order to recover the tourism and hospitality industry, 2019’s economic impact report provides an optimistic outlook to our partners.”