The economic impact of tourism in Kentucky was more than $14.5 billion in 2016, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Department of Tourism announced today. Kentucky’s tourism industry experienced the strongest overall economic impact growth rate since 2005. All nine of the state’s tourism regions registered gains again in 2016.
“On the heels of the recent momentous success in our manufacturing and industrial sectors, it comes as no surprise that Kentucky is experiencing rapid growth in tourism as well,” said Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky’s natural beauty is unparalleled, with countless trails, mountain peaks and waterways to interest any outdoorsman. Visitors to Kentucky also have unique opportunities to experience the excitement and pageantry of the horse industry, watch bourbon being made at one of our many distilleries, and learn of the Commonwealth’s rich heritage with visits to one of our many museums and memorials. Warm hospitality, tremendous local pride, and experiences you can’t find anywhere else—there is no place like Kentucky.”
“A vibrant tourism industry means a vibrant Kentucky,” said Kristen Branscum, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism. “The natural beauty of our state provides unlimited opportunities for visitors to experience recreation or leisure activities around every corner. The economic impact numbers for 2016 reinforce the fact that the tourism industry is a vital economic driver for Kentucky.”
Kentucky's tourism industry generated $14.5 billion in economic impact during 2016, an increase of over five percent from $13.7 billion in 2015. The industry supported nearly 193,000 jobs and generated more than $1.5 billion in tax revenue, with $195.1 million going directly to local communities. The full tourism economic impact study is available at www.kentuckytourism.com/industry.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism continues to build upon Kentucky’s signature tourism industries of horses, bourbon, music, arts, outdoors and culinary to reach new audiences and present Kentucky as a top-level destination for visitors internationally and domestically.