Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Tourism Spending in Kentucky Hits $10 Billion

Press Release Date:  Saturday, May 12, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Chris Gilligan

Also registers 23.8 percent increase from 2003-2006

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Tourism spending in Kentucky in 2006 crossed the $10 billion mark for the first time, according to new statistics compiled by the Travel Industry Association (TIA). That growth represents a 6.6 percent increase over 2005. The new report also shows 176,900 Kentuckians employed due to tourism, earning more than $3.36 billion in payroll income and paying more than $987 million in federal, state and local taxes.

In addition, tourism spending in Kentucky during the first three years of the Fletcher administration increased 23.8 percent and added more than 6,000 new jobs to the state’s economy.

Governor Ernie Fletcher unveiled the new tourism statistics during the International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro.

“It is events such as this that have helped us grow Kentucky’s tourism economy over the past three years,” said Governor Fletcher. “The numbers are great news for the 176,000 Kentuckians who earn a paycheck from tourism. As we look toward the 2008 Ryder Cup and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the impact of tourism in Kentucky will become even more dramatic.”

According to the TIA report, nearly $6.81 billion was spent directly by domestic travelers in Kentucky in 2006. Added to indirect spending, the total value was just over $10 billion.

“Governor Fletcher deserves credit for putting a priority on growing tourism,” added Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash. “In addition, our local tourism experts in each county are a major part of our success story. A visitor doesn’t just come to Kentucky. He or she comes to a community in Kentucky. Our local tourism experts, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, restaurants, hotels and motels have ensured a quality experience so our visitors stay longer and make plans to come back.”

The new tourism impact statistics were unveiled during “National Tourism Week in Kentucky,” an annual event during which the importance of tourism is celebrated in the commonwealth and throughout the country. Governor Fletcher signed a proclamation honoring the achievements of the Kentucky Department of Tourism, working with its partners, the Kentucky Tourism Council, local tourism organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, lodging, restaurants and visitor attractions.

Later this summer, tourism numbers will be available for each region of Kentucky as well as for each individual county in the state.