COVINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2016) – Travel and tourism contributed nearly $366 million to Northern Kentucky’s economy during 2015 as tourism filled more hotel rooms than ever in the region, meetNKY | Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau announced Thursday during its annual meeting.
The theme of this year’s annual meeting – “NKY for the Win” – reflects an All-Star year for travel and tourism in Northern Kentucky, including increased occupancy and improved revenues that resulted in significant economic impact.
At the annual meeting, meetNKY announced that Northern Kentucky accounted for 39 percent of the $4.4 billion in travel spending in the Greater Cincinnati region and 20 percent of all travel spending in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
“There is no doubt in our minds that 2015 was All-Star in many ways,” said Eric Summe, president & CEO of meetNKY. “The area results are powerful and our industry continues to lead the way as a catalyst for regional economic development.”
The annual meeting, held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, included remarks by meetNKY Board Chair Alan Bernstein, owner and operator of BB Riverboats; keynote speaker Hank Phillips, president & CEO of the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, who gave an update on the impact of tourism statewide and how Northern Kentucky has led the charge; and meetNKY President & CEO Eric Summe, who led the meeting and shared details of this year’s stellar report.
As Bernstein moves into his second year as CVB chair, he commented on the board’s ongoing goals for the CVB as well as the region: “We began a serious discussion in 2013 with our partners in the river cities and in our counties to continue to make improving our riverfront a priority,” Bernstein said.
“We are excited to see that a critical mass is being reached and plans are moving forward to improve the streetscape in our central convention area as well as connect the urban core to the riverfront in all our river cities. We also will continue to be an advocate for the Brent Spence Bridge replacement so that our region continues to grow to its full potential.”
Highlights of the 2015 results included:
•The total impact of visitor spending in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties increased by $26 million from 2014 to $366 million.
•meetNKY provided convention services to more than 125 groups, totaling 23,085 attendees.
•The average daily rate for hotel rooms increased 4.85 percent to $91.47 per room.
•What’s more, each leisure visitor spends, on average, an additional $101 per day in the region; each meetings/business visitor spends an additional $189 per day on average.
•Convention rooms booked for future years are up 29 percent, which represents $72 million in future visitor spending.
•Hotel occupancy levels are in their sixth consecutive year of growth, increasing 4.6 percent to 66.61 percent in 2015, ranking above the national average.
•meetNKY — along with the best group of hospitality partners in the business — continues to receive outstanding feedback for the service provided to group and convention customers, with an overall satisfaction score of 98 percent.
•The travel and tourism industry offsets the average tax burden imposed on citizens by $602 per household, which helps keep Northern Kentucky one of the most affordable places to live in the United States.
During Thursday’s meeting, meetNKY presented its Star of Tourism award to Bev Holiday in recognition of her decades-long career, in a variety of roles, as an advocate for Northern Kentucky. Holiday currently serves as the Community Liaison for the City of Newport.
“We are deeply honored to celebrate Bev Holiday as this year’s Star of Tourism Award recipient,” Summe said. “Bev is so passionate about Northern Kentucky and is a tireless champion of our region. She is dedicated to making this area a better place to visit, work and live. She is a true Star of Northern Kentucky.”
CVB Chair Bernstein is enthusiastic about 2016 and the momentum that is building in the region. “You can be sure that 2016 is going to be remarkable in many ways,” Bernstein said. “With the new hotels, restaurants, and attractions opening as well as many more in planning, we know that this area is riding a rising tide. We look forward to continuing to be a force in the region and providing assistance in moving projects forward from vision to reality.”
Summe concludes with a wrap-up: “Our mission as an organization is clear. Our results clearly underscore the importance of the visitor to NKY and Cincinnati USA. We also want to recognize our industry and community partners along with our public officials for the support they have provided as we work to advance NKY and our region as a premier destination and experience.”
meetNKY also revealed a reinvigorated campaign to enlist and engage locals in bringing outside conventions, meetings, and events to Northern Kentucky. Full details about this program – officially known as boostNKY – will be announced in coming months. Learn more at www.meetNKY.com/boost
The mission of meetNKY is to serve as an aggressive sales, marketing, and service organization whose primary responsibility is to positively impact the Northern Kentucky economy through conventions, meetings, and visitor expenditures.