$5.3 million awarded to help in recovery funding for Kentucky tourism industry


103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties to receive federal funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/PRESS RELEASE) On Wednesday, Gov. Beshear joined the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and members of the General Assembly to announce that 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties will receive a total of $5.3 million in funding.

“Today, we are celebrating another investment into the future of Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “Tourism brings more than 67 million people to our state each year, and that number is set to grow even more. Whether it’s spending the afternoon fishing on a Western Kentucky lake, taking in the scenic views of Natural Bridge and the amazing moonbow at Cumberland Falls, or getting a taste of our world-famous bourbon and the fastest two minutes in sports, you’re going to find special things to see and do here in the commonwealth.”

According to the governor’s office, the Beshear administration has been committed to ensuring the tourism industry is positioned to thrive in a post-pandemic economy. In December, the Governor reinforced his commitment to the industry by dedicating more than $5.3 million in federal funding to promote travel, tourism and outdoor recreation in the commonwealth.

The Governor announced more than $4.6 million will be directly awarded to tourism and destination marketing organizations. Tourism partners from the following organizations joined the Governor in Frankfort to celebrate the administration’s latest investment in the tourism industry.

“The Governor and the administration is helping support tourism recovery from the pandemic,” said Cleo Battle, president and CEO, Louisville Tourism. “This funding will allow us to market and advertise and bring people back to Louisville.”

According to the governor’s office, an additional $678,624 will be allocated directly to the commonwealth’s nine tourism regions to support regional marketing and promotion. Previously, the Governor dedicated $2.8 million in federal funding to support the creation of regional marketing campaigns.

The total economic investment for tourism and destination marketing organizations combined with the regional distribution is as follows:

• Bourbon, Horses, and History $1,727,086
• Northern Kentucky River $1,024,686
• Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone $937,804
• Western Waterlands $376,335
• Caves, Lakes and Corvettes $347,052
• Bluegrass, Blues and BBQ $251,821
• Kentucky Appalachians $250,125
• Daniel Boone Country $236,787
• Southern Kentucky Vacations $194,554

“This recovery money provides a leg up for the smaller communities that often don’t have the competitive advantage,” said Erin Carrico, executive director of the Murray Convention & Visitors Bureau and regional chair of Kentucky Western Waterlands.

Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry applauded the Governor for his commitment to fostering economic recovery and growth of the tourism industry.

“Gov. Beshear has kept his commitment to Kentucky and continues to make investments that foster economic growth in every community in the commonwealth,” said Secretary Berry. “I applaud the Governor for understanding the economic impact that tourism brings to Kentucky and his willingness to ensure tourism remains an economic engine in the future.”

Members of the General Assembly and local tourism leaders recognize the significant impact this funding will have on tourism in communities throughout the commonwealth.

“Tourism is a major economic engine in my district, and I am grateful that the commonwealth has made this investment in the tourism industry,” said Sen. Matt Castlen of Owensboro. “This additional funding support will play an important role in our efforts to attract more visitors to Western Kentucky.”

“Every day we are working to attract business and visitors to Kentucky,” said Rep. Angie Hatton of Whitesburg. “This latest investment in our tourism industry will allow us to showcase communities in my district and bring much needed travel revenue to Eastern Kentucky.”

Funding awards are based on the respective counties’ share of the 2019 Economic Impact Report. For the full list of funding recipients, click HERE.

According to the governor’s office, tourism is a $8.9 billion industry that supports economic growth in both rural and urban communities in Kentucky. Throughout the pandemic, the commonwealth has invested more than $13 million in the tourism industry to strengthen promotional and advertising efforts and encourage safe travel to Kentucky through the development of new marking campaigns.

To keep visitors coming, the Governor’s recent budget proposal directs $200 million in one-time funding to Kentucky State Parks. Funding would support essential preservation projects, maintenance, repair and new projects at state parks across the commonwealth.

The Governor’s budget also dedicates $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to boost Kentucky’s tourism industry through a targeted marketing campaign and another $10 million to help nonprofit arts organizations.


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