Kentucky officials are touting an increase in tourism in the past year. A new report shows that last year the economic impact of tourism increased 3 percent, to nearly $11.7 billion.
“It's fairly typical,” said Gil Lawson is a spokesman for the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. “I think in the last few years there's been a few years that have been higher or even lower than that. But considering the state of the economy, what's been going on with jobs and fuel prices, that's why we're glad to see some growth in this area,” he said.There have been small, steady gains in the tourism sector the last few years. According to data from the the Cabinet, in 2010 the economic impact of tourism in the state was $11.3 billion, and in 2009 is was $10.8 billion.
“It reflects the fact that we've got a stable tourism industry,” said Lawson.
Of the nine regions that define Kentucky’s tourism industry the single “Bourbon, Horse and History” region saw the greatest gains at just over $2 billion for the 15 county area.
Jefferson County lies within this region, and the report says tourists spent $1.7 billion making it the region’s most profitable county.