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Kentucky Outdoor Recreational Ecnomic Impact Soars

Outdoor Industry Association releases state-by-state numbers

FRANKFORT (Aug. 3, 2017)—The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) announced last week that the economic impact of outdoor recreation in Kentucky totaled $12.8 billion dollars last year, up from $8.4 billion in 2012. This is the first national economic impact study since 2012.

The report indicates that Kentucky directly supports 120,000 jobs and annually generates $12.8 billion in consumer spending, and $756 million in state and local tax revenue.

OIA’s report also highlights that 61 percent of Kentucky’s 4.44 million residents participate in outdoor recreation each year. The outdoor recreation economy is made up of camping, fishing, hunting, motorcycling, off-roading, snow sports, trail sports, water sports, wheel sports, and wildlife viewing.

“Kentucky’s natural beauty and outdoor opportunities have allowed adventure tourism to continue to grow across the state,” Kentucky Department of Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum said. “More visitors are looking to explore and get outside as part of their vacations in a world that is screen-driven. Kentucky has limitless outdoor recreation in all parts of the state and in communities big/small, urban, and rural.”

These numbers demonstrate that Kentucky is beginning to position itself as that top-tier destination for travelers that want to get out and have a diversity of activities that are accessible to all types of visitors.

In 2012, the impact nationally was $646 billion and grew in 2017 to $887 billion in consumer spending annually. That relates to over 7.6 million jobs, and more than $120 billion in tax revenues. Over $702 billion is spent on trip-related expenses annually. These numbers indicate that people are willing to travel to participate in their chosen outdoor activities, fueling local and state tourism economies.

Programs such as the Kentucky Trail Town Program and the Cross Kentucky Master Trail Plan offer guidance and assistance to local leaders and trail advocates as they work to develop recreational opportunities.

The Outdoor Industry Association is a membership-driven trade organization representing the outdoor industry and working to ensure future growth in participation in outdoor recreation. To view Kentucky’s Outdoor Recreation Economic Report visit

Visit for more information on all adventure tourism offerings in Kentucky. Share your adventures with us using #adventureKY & #travelKY.

The Kentucky Department of Tourism is an agency within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, which promotes the commonwealth as a travel destination. In 2016, tourism in Kentucky experienced the strongest overall economic impact growth in the last 10 years, with an economic impact of more than $14.5 billion. The tourism industry supports over 193,000 jobs and generates more than $1.5 billion in taxes.

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