Department of Tourism
Kentucky Tourism Aggressively Seeks International Travelers
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Department of Tourism has beefed up its recruitment of the international traveler with the addition of one overseas office and the expansion of another.
As Governor Ernie Fletcher announced, Kentucky opened an international travel office in Japan and has increased its European presence with an expanded London office that also will include marketing efforts in Ireland and Germany. In addition, a Canadian office continues to attract neighbors from the north.
Many other states are increasing their emphasis on international marketing, and with good reason. The U.S. Commerce Department reports that in May 2008, 3.8 million international visitors traveled to the U.S., an increase of eight percent over the same time in 2006. So far this year, international travelers to the United States have spent $47.6 billion, also up eight percent over the same period in 2006. The increase includes a four percent growth in visitors from Canada and a 27 percent increase in travel from Mexico
“It’s all about expanding our marketing efforts,” said Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash. “The latest statistics we have show that Kentucky attracts one half of one percent of the international traveling audience. If we can increase that even slightly, that will result in more money coming to the state and more tourism-related jobs being created in Kentucky as a result.
Some 14 international events are scheduled to take place in Kentucky in the next four years, including the annual Kentucky Derby, the 2008 Ryder Cup, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the Rolex Three-Day Equestrian Event and others. The international Kentucky Tourism offices will work to increase knowledge about Kentucky and create more tour packages that can be sold to the international traveler.
The new office in Japan representing Kentucky is 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 genuinely American destination Japanese tourists are seeking today.” The Japan office will start by working with Japanese travel media and international businesses which have facilities in Kentucky.
In Great Britain, “gosh pr” will represent Kentucky. “gosh pr” is starting an integrated marketing campaign, focusing on efforts aimed at the leisure traveler and those interested in horses and golf. The name ‘Kentucky’ is legendary because of the Derby,” said Dru Bryan, ‘”gosh pr’s” managing director. “However once we are able to show Europeans all that Kentucky has to offer including golf and the bourbon industry, we believe we can help draw many more international travelers to Kentucky."
In Canada, Kentucky utilizes Access Marketing of Toronto to further its marketing efforts. Access Marketing is working with the Canadian travel media to encourage those Canadians passing through Kentucky on their way to other destinations to stop and spend a few days in the commonwealth. “Kentucky is a pleasant surprise for many of our residents who head south for vacations,” said Access Marketing President Joanne Scalamogna. ”They no longer just pass through Kentucky. Instead, we are telling our fellow Canadians that Kentucky is a great place to stop and stay a few days.”
In addition to the three offices mentioned, Governor Fletcher has instructed Tourism Commissioner 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.
Travel Industry Association statistics show the average international traveler spends nearly $150 dollars a day in the United States, nearly $50 per day more than the average domestic traveler. International travelers also stay in the U.S. for an average of 16 days and spend a total of some $80 billion per year on vacations in this country.
“Tourism is a vital form of economic development and is now worth more than ten billion dollars a year in Kentucky,” said Commissioner Fiveash. “Think of it this way: If a new industry bought 6,000 new jobs into a community, that would be big news for the state, but only that region of the state would benefit. In the past three years, we’ve been able to add nearly 6,000 new tourism-related jobs in Kentucky -- and those jobs have been created in virtually every county in Kentucky. That is systemic and solid economic growth that benefits every man, woman and child living in Kentucky.”
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy