Visitor spending and visitation growth in Kentucky both increased in 2018 according to a study from Tourism Economics, the Kentucky Department of Tourism's new research partner.

    Visitor trips to and within the Commonwealth topped 71.6 million in 
2018, with visitor spending climbing to nearly $7.6 billion, a 3.7 
percent increase over the prior year and 21 percent increase since 2013.
    "Tourism continues to play a vital role in Kentucky's economy," said 
Jay Hall, Acting Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism. 
"The growth shown in this new report is a testament to the authentic 
visitor experiences offered across the state, and we look forward to 
using this data to help increase visits, visitor spending, and 
tourism employment for the Commonwealth and our local partners in the 
    Using the Tourism Economics model, the economic impact of the 
tourism industry in Kentucky went from $10.9 billion in 2017 to $11.2 
billion in 2018, generating more than 94,500 jobs and $787 million in 
state and local taxes.
    Representing both the U.S. and international destinations, Tourism 
Economics is a world leader in economic impact analysis, forecasts 
and consulting for the tourism sector.
    As Tourism Economics is utilized by many U.S. state tourism 
departments, one benefit to Kentucky is that report findings allow 
for a more accurate comparison with key competitors.
    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 position 
Kentucky as a top-tier travel destination for visitors.
    The study also included a breakdown of tourism numbers by county. In 
2018, Wayne County benefited from $17.91 million directly from 
tourism spending. That is up from $17.61 million in 2017.
    Total spending related to travel and tourism in the county was 
$25.95 million, according to the report. That increased from $25.61 
million in 2017.
    The study noted that tourism directly created 144 jobs in Wayne 
County and total jobs related to tourism and travel in the county was 
212. Those reflect nearly the same numbers as in 2017.


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