Home » Tourism economic impact in Kentucky more than $12.2 billion in 2012

Tourism economic impact in Kentucky more than $12.2 billion in 2012

Jefferson, Fayette lead the way with combined $2.9 billion in travel spending

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 7, 2013) — The economic impact of tourism in Kentucky amounted to more than $12.2 billion in 2012, a 4.4-percent increase from 2011.

The Louisville Slugger Museum is located in the Bourbon, Horses and History region, which had the most tourism spending in 2012.
The Louisville Slugger Museum is located in the Bourbon, Horses and History region, which had the most tourism spending in 2012.

Direct tourism expenditures were $7.765 billion, up from $7.439 billion in 2011.

“The Kentucky tourism industry continues to do well, which is good news for all of us,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “These figures illustrate the importance of tourism in Kentucky as well as in communities big and small across the commonwealth.”

The release of the figures coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated May 4-12 this year.

“This is great news for our tourism industry in Kentucky and follows the announcement earlier this year that the water level at Lake Cumberland is going up – which should help tourism in that region,” said Marcheta Sparrow, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary. “We want to build on these successes and keep adding more attractions and jobs for Kentuckians.”

As an example, Sparrow cited the growth of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which reported a record 509,292 visitors in 2012, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a series of distilleries that allow guests to see how bourbon is made.

The annual survey also showed that tourism was responsible for 174,006 jobs in Kentucky in 2012 – an increase of 4,078 jobs from the previous year. These jobs generated more than $2.7 billion in wages for Kentucky workers, an increase of nearly $117 million from the previous year.

Tourism generated $1.227 billion in tax revenues for local and state governments in 2012, an increase from $1.223 billion in 2011. All nine tourism regions showed gains for 2012.

The region called Bourbon, Horses and History had the highest direct expenditures, $2.34 billion. The bulk of those funds, $1.9 billion, were spent in Louisville and Jefferson County. Hardin County had the second biggest tourism spending in the region, $182 million. The region also includes: Breckinridge, Bullitt, Grayson, Henry, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Washington counties.

The Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone region had the second highest tourism spending, $1.7 billion. Fayette County led the region with $1.147 billion, followed by Madison County, $100.6 million, and Scott County, $83 million. The region also includes: Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Lincoln, Mercer, Nicholas and Woodford counties.

“It’s extremely exciting to see the continued year over year growth of tourism in Kentucky,” said Jim Browder, president of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The ongoing investment in tourism in the Bluegrass Region, our welcoming community and diverse offerings of our region will continue to provide much needed jobs and development for many years to come. The beauty of tourism is that it cannot be outsourced, it’s a great economic driver for any community that truly wishes to embrace it as we have in Lexington’s Bluegrass Region.”

The Northern Kentucky River Region nearly tied with the Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone region, registering $1.66 billion in tourism expenditures. Led by $853.3 million spent in Boone County and $627 million in Kenton County, the region also includes: Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Fleming, Gallatin, Grant, Lewis, Mason, Owen, Pendleton and Robertson counties.

The report was produced by Certec Inc. of Versailles.

For more details about the economic impact study, including county-level expenditures, visit www.kentuckytourism.com/industry and click on research.

Click here to download the full report.


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