Tourism's Economic Impact Amounts to $12.2 Billion in Kentucky for 2012

May 7, 2013

FRANKFORT – The economic impact of tourism in Kentucky amounted to more than $12.2 billion in 2012, Gov. Steve Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow announced Monday. The economic impact figure is a 4.4 percent increase from 2011.

“The Kentucky tourism industry continues to do well, which is good news for all of us,” Beshear said in a state news release. “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,” Sparrow said in the release. “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. These jobs generated more than $2.7 billion in wages for Kentucky workers, an increase of nearly $117 million from the previous year. Tourism generated $1.227 billion in tax revenues for local and state governments in 2012, an increase from $1.223 billion in 2011. All nine tourism regions showed gains for 2012.

The report was produced by Certec Inc. of Versailles. For more details about the economic impact study, including county-level expenditures, visit and click on research.