The Kentucky Department of Tourism has beefed up its recruitment of the international traveler with the addition of an international travel office in Japan. The department has also increased its European presence with an expanded London office that will include marketing efforts in Ireland and Germany. In addition, the state is currently examining the feasibility of establishing a tourism office in China.
The U.S. Commerce Department reports that in May 2008, 3.8 million international visitors traveled to the United States, an increase of 8 percent over the same time in 2006. So far this year, international travelers to the United States have spent $47.6 billion, also up 8 percent over the same period in 2006.
“It’s all about expanding our marketing efforts,” said Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash. “The latest statistics we have show that Kentucky attracts one half of one percent of the international traveling audience. If we can increase that even slightly, that will result in more money coming to the state and more tourism-related jobs being created in Kentucky as a result.”
Some 14 international events are scheduled to take place in Kentucky in the next four years, including the annual Kentucky Derby, the 2008 Ryder Cup, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the Rolex Three-Day Equestrian Event and others. The international Kentucky tourism offices will work to increase knowledge about Kentucky and create more tour packages that can be sold to the international traveler.