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Kentucky Tourism Industry Generated $14.5 Billion in 2016

Economic Impact of Tourism Increases in All Nine Tourism Regions

Frankfort (May 8, 2017)–$14.5 billion. That is the economic impact of tourism in Kentucky in 2016, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Department of Tourism announced today. Kentucky’s tourism industry experienced the strongest overall economic impact growth rate since 2005. All nine of the state’s tourism regions registered gains again in 2016.

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“On the heels of the recent momentous success in our manufacturing and industrial sectors, it comes as no surprise that Kentucky is experiencing rapid growth in tourism as well,” said Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky’s natural beauty is unparalleled, with countless trails, mountain peaks, and waterways to interest any outdoorsman. Visitors to Kentucky also have unique opportunities to experience the excitement and pageantry of the horse industry, watch bourbon being made at one of our many distilleries, and learn of the commonwealth’s rich heritage with visits to one of our many museums and memorials. Warm hospitality, tremendous local pride, and experiences you can’t find anywhere else—there is no place like Kentucky.”

“A vibrant tourism industry means a vibrant Kentucky,” said Kristen Branscum, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism. “The natural beauty of our state provides unlimited opportunities for visitors to experience recreation or leisure activities around every corner. The economic impact numbers for 2016 reinforce the fact that the tourism industry is a vital economic driver for Kentucky.”

Kentucky’s tourism industry generated $14.5 billion in economic impact during 2016, an increase of over 5 percent from $13.7 billion in 2015. The industry supported nearly 193,000 jobs and generated more than $1.5 billion in tax revenue, with $195.1 million going directly to local communities. The full tourism economic impact study is available at

The Kentucky Department of Tourism continues to build upon Kentucky’s signature tourism industries of horses, bourbon, music, arts, outdoors, and culinary to reach new audiences and present Kentucky as a top-level destination for visitors internationally and domestically.

To learn more about Kentucky tourism, visit

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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