Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces New Tourism Office in Japan, Expansion of London Tourism Office

Press Release Date:  Friday, September 07, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Cindy Briscoe

Governor also asks Tourism Commissioner to study feasibility of China travel office

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced the creation of an international tourism office in Japan, aimed at increasing travel to Kentucky.  In addition, the Governor announced the expansion of the commonwealth’s tourism office in London to include marketing efforts in Ireland and Germany.

“With some 14 international events in Kentucky in the next four years, we have a real opportunity to encourage more international visitation to Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher.  “With the Kentucky Derby, the 2008 Ryder Cup, the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games and all of the other international events making Kentucky their home, it is time for us to expand our efforts to attract people from all over the world to visit the commonwealth.”

Kentucky’s new office in Japan is managed by Advance International, Ltd., of Tokyo. President Marjorie Dewey says Kentucky has a lot to offer the international traveler.

“With horses, bourbon, bluegrass music and friendly people, Kentucky is the kind of genuinely American destination Japanese tourists are seeking today,” Dewey said.

While Kentucky has had an office in London, the Department of Tourism has just signed a contract with a London-based marketing agency, Gosh PR, to represent Kentucky in Great Britain, while expanding efforts to Ireland and Germany.

Kentucky also has a tourism office in Canada, where marketing efforts are directed by Access Marketing of Toronto.  Governor Fletcher also has directed Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash to examine the feasibility of establishing a tourism office in China and report his findings to him.

All international tourism offices have been charged with increasing individual and group travel to Kentucky, as well as focusing marketing efforts specifically to the international traveler.  “Proof of performance” standards have been established and monthly reports will be provided.

The international tourism market is a lucrative one.  Travel Industry Association statistics show an international traveler spends nearly $150 a day in the United States, nearly $50 per day more than a domestic traveler.  International travelers also stay in the United States for an average of 16 days and spend some $80 billion per year. At last report, Kentucky had 0.5 percent of the international travel market, and with several international events scheduled for the commonwealth, that percentage is likely to rise dramatically.

“The bottom line is that we will look throughout the world for new and expanded opportunities for our people in Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher.  “Travelers bring new money into Kentucky – money that starts in our hotels, motels and restaurants, and then expands to other sectors of the economy, resulting in new jobs in many areas of Kentucky.  It is a tremendous way to improve the economy throughout the commonwealth.”