Frankfort, Ky. (December 6, 2004) The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency in the Commerce Cabinet, ends its first year under Governor Ernie Fletcher’s administration with several accomplishments. Since Commerce Cabinet Secretary Jim Host and Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash were appointed, the agency has saved money and made progress in increasing economic development.
One of the first things Commissioner Fiveash did was reorganize the agency in order to create an organization with a strong sales and marketing focus. Part of the restructuring included a name change from the Department of Travel to the Department of Tourism. The previous name did not cover the multiple areas of focus the agency is responsible for such as the film commission, welcome centers, convention and meeting business and corporate partnership development.
In the past year, the agency has saved the Commonwealth money through local and statewide partnerships. In this year alone, the Matching Funds program, which provides local and regional non-profit tourism organizations with financial assistance to promote tourism in their areas, was increased by $300,000.
A task force dedicated to creating jobs, improving economic development and promoting tourism in and around Frankfort was developed in 2004 as well. At Governor Fletcher’s request, Secretary Host and Commissioner Fiveash led the drive to recruit members.
The tourism agency along with Secretary Host and the Kentucky State Fair Board captured the “Dew Action Sports Tour.” Louisville will serve as one of the host sites for the inaugural season. Five host cities were selected. The sports tour is the first-ever season-long professional multi-sport tour in action sports. Kentucky will receive branding exposure nationally on NBC and Clear Channel and revenue incentives connected with ticket sales.
The changes in the 2005 Great Getaway Guide, which included information about Kentucky attractions and accommodations, have saved the state an estimated $258,000 in printing and distribution cost by keeping the project in Kentucky. The magazine will be bigger than before (152 pages more than the 2004 edition) and there will be more of them (an increase of 150,000).
“In the past, producing the Getaway Guide resulted in more than $500,000 dollars leaving the Commonwealth of Kentucky annually,” Commissioner Fiveash said. “Our Getaway Guide was printed by a Florida-based printing company. They not only had all the rights to sell the advertising, but to keep all the revenue. We are now using a Kentucky-based printer, Gateway Press and working in partnership with the Kentucky Tourism Council (KTC) to sell ads and the money spent is staying within our state lines.”
The Kentucky Film Office has contributed to this agency’s success by assisting in the process of increasing economic development.
“When a film crew comes to town, they put money into local communities by spending it on such things as supplies, hotels, restaurants and local retail shops,” said Todd Cassidy, Director of the Kentucky Film Office. “They spend just like a family would on vacation.”
The Kentucky Film Office is part of the Kentucky Department of Tourism and markets the state to film, television and advertising agencies. The Office assists film crews in finding hotel rooms, permits, and road closings and serves as a liaison between property owners and production companies. Two major films, Elizabethtown and Dreamer have been filmed in Kentucky this year. Many new developments are in the making for 2005, which will result in further economic development and increased exposure for Kentucky.
Last, but certainly not least, the Department of Tourism led the “Brand Kentucky” campaign. Under the directive of Governor Fletcher and Secretary Host, the agency worked with the state’s advertising agency, New West resulting in the unveiling of four finalists at the Kentucky Tourism Industry Conference (KTIAC) in October, handing over the final decision to the public. During this process over 55,000 votes were cast making “Kentucky Unbridled Spirit” the Commonwealth’s new brand.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote the Commonwealth as a travel destination, to generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky's economy. Tourism is a $9.3 billion business for Kentucky. It's the state's third largest industry and second leading employer.