Local News

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said a string of hotels set to be constructed in downtown Louisville will play a vital role in accommodating the city’s growing tourism industry.

“One of things that is happening in our city and a lot of people don’t recognize it going on, is we’re getting a whole new type of tourist coming to town,” Fischer said.  “We’re going to need a lot of capacity.”

The Bourbon Trail last year attracted nearly 600,000 people and Fischer said “we’re quickly on our way to exceed 1 million.”

Last week,  Fischer, along with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, announced the an agreement to construct a luxury hotel on Third Street.

The hotel will be the first Omni Hotel in Kentucky.  The 600-room convention hotel will also include a grocery store, retail space and a 200-unit apartment building.

Coming on the heels of plans to construct an Aloft Hotel near the KFC Yum! Center and as construction is in progress on the Hilton Garden Inn on Fourth Street, the addition of the three hotels to downtown’s future cityscape will add nearly 1,000 rooms.

But can all of those room be filled?

“Absolutely,” Fischer responded.

Fischer said that, in addition to bourbon tourism industry, plans are in the works for a $180 million renovation to the Kentucky International Convention Center.  The mayor argues that the project, coupled with the KFC Yum! Center  and the restaurant scene, make Louisville a destination city.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.