Tourism Economic Impact in Kentucky Reaches $12.5 Billion in 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The economic impact of tourism in Kentucky amounted to more than $12.5 billion in 2013, Governor Steve Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Bob Stewart have announced. The economic impact figure is a 2.6 percent increase from 2012.

“Our tourism industry continues to grow because Kentucky has stunning natural beauty, interesting and exciting attractions, and world class hospitality that make our visitors want to come back over and over again,” Gov. Beshear said.  “Its growth is also evidence of the hard work of tourism businesses and the professionals who work hard each and every day to make Kentucky the great destination it is.”

The release of the figures coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated May 3-11 this year.

“The continued popularity of bourbon and a steady uptick in the meetings and conventions sector will be important for our ability to attract even more visitors to Kentucky this year,” Stewart said. “The opening of the new convention center in Owensboro; the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom later this month; the return of normal water level at Lake Cumberland and the fact we are hosting the PGA Championship, which brings with it tremendous television coverage, all point to a great opportunity for growth this year.”

The annual survey also showed that tourism was responsible for 175,746 jobs in Kentucky in 2013 – an increase of 1,740 jobs from the previous year. These jobs generated more than $2.8 billion in wages for Kentucky workers, an increase of nearly $72 million from the previous year.

Tourism generated $1.3 billion in tax revenues for local and state governments in 2013, an increase from $1.23 billion in 2012.  Seven of the nine tourism regions showed gains for 2013.

The report was produced by Certec Inc. of Versailles.  For more details about the economic impact study, including county-level expenditures, and click on “research.”

To learn more about Kentucky tourism, visit


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