Lexington is an established tourism and retail destination, boasting attractions such as Keeneland, the Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, UK Basketball, and the heart of the state’s horse farm industry. Key assets draw visitors year-round, such as:
- Events and conferences at the Lexington Convention Center, which contains Rupp Arena and the Lexington Opera House
- National and international events such as Alltech’s Annual International Symposium and the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championship.
- The University of Kentucky and Transylvania University attract sports fans and parents visiting children.
- Downtown is a recently revitalized cultural hub with attractions such as live music, art galleries, museums, theaters, and outdoor festivals.
- Quality convention space at the Lexington Convention Center, adjacent to hotels and in a convenient downtown location.
- Reliable workforce with hospitality experience.
- Quality retail and commercial space, such as Hamburg, The Summit, and downtown.
- Area aesthetics of our beautiful natural landscape, scenic horse farms, and hike and bike trails.
- Lexington’s exceptional health care services draws people from around the state.
Over 46,000 people are employed in Lexington’s Visitor Industries, which includes three types of businesses: retail stores, travel agencies and convention center organizers, and venues for arts, entertainment, and recreation. Salaries range from an average of $43,000 to $18,000. Employment was steady between 40,000 and 41,000 from 2009 through 2012, likely as a result of the recession, but has quickly increased in recent years.
Growing the area’s visitor industries is an important area of economic development. Marketing the region for business or recreation involves many partners, namely VisitLEX, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Center. To help strengthen and grow these industries, Commerce Lexington Inc. and VisitLEX’s teams embarked upon a more formal partnership to develop strategies to recruit associations and business meetings to the area. Our teams meet quarterly to discuss various topics including infrastructure, marketing strategies, client feedback, incentives, and other items, as well as to review our strategic plan.
Check back next week for more about the Visitor Industries!