The Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet commissioned a study of the expenditures, employment, and tax impacts generated by the Kentucky tourism and travel industry, including information by county and region.
In 2016, tourists and travelers spent over $9.2 billion dollars in Kentucky, generating a total economic impact of nearly $14.5 billion and nearly $1.52 billion in tax revenue, including over $195 million for local communities. Nearly 135,000 jobs are directly supported by the tourism industry in Kentucky, with another 57,800 jobs created through indirect and induced expenditures for a total payroll of over $3.2 billion.
Lexington alone generated $2.05 billion in total expenditures, accounting for 14% of the state’s total.
Lexington is categorized in the Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon, and Boone Region, along with the other seven counties of the Bluegrass Region (Bourbon, Clark, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Scott, and Woodford Counties) and seven other nearby counties (Anderson, Boyle, Garrad, Harrison, Lincoln, Mercer, and Nicholas Counties).
The Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon, and Boone Region boasted the second-most direct travel expenditures in 2016, totaling $2 billion and accounting for over one-fifth of all direct travel expenditures in Kentucky.
The eight counties of the Bluegrass Region accounted for 20% of direct and total expenditures in Kentucky, totaling $1.9 billion in direct spending and $2.9 billion in total spending. Lexington received the largest share of spending with $1.3 billion in direct spending and $2.05 billion in total spending, accounting for 65% of the region’s direct and total expenditures.
VisitLEX is an important partner in bringing tourists, companies, and visitors to Lexington, helping our tourism industry thrive and demonstrating to people from around the world that Lexington is a great place to do business, raise a family, and to call home.