HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — The economic impact of tourism in Kentucky amounted to more than $12.2 billion in 2012, a 4.4 increase from 2011, state officials said Monday.
“The Kentucky tourism industry continues to do well, which is good news for all of us,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement Monday.
“These figures illustrate the importance of tourism in Kentucky as well as in communities big and small across the Commonwealth.”
The release of the figures coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated May 4-12 this year.
“This is great news for our tourism industry in Kentucky and follows the announcement earlier this year that the water level at Lake Cumberland is going up – which should help tourism in that region,” said state Tourism Secretary Marcheta Sparrow. “We want to build on these successes and keep adding more attractions and jobs for Kentuckians.”
As an example, Sparrow cited the growth of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, which reported a record 509,292 visitors in 2012, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a series of distilleries that allow guests to see how bourbon is made.
The annual survey also showed that tourism was responsible for 174,006 jobs in Kentucky in 2012 – an increase of 4,078 jobs from the previous year.