Hardin County’s impact on Ken­tucky tourism for 2018 hit $282 mil­lion, a 4.1 percent uptick over 2017, according to a study from Tourism Economics, the Kentucky Department of Tourism’s new research partner.

That amount is just a portion of the $7.6 billion an estimated 71.6 million visitors are reported to have spent in 2018 in Kentucky. According to the report, the $7.6 billion is a 3.7-percent increase since 2017 and a 21-percent increase since 2013.

Tourism Economics is an independent research firm contracted to perform the study, which applies actual dollars to the role of visitors to the Commonwealth.

Using the Tourism Economics model, the report said the total economic impact of the tourism industry in Kentucky went from $10.9 billion in 2017 to $11.2 billion in 2018, generating more than 94,500 jobs and $787 million in state and local taxes.

In Hardin County, a press release from the Elizabethtown Tour­ism and Convention Bureau stated Har­din County maintains 2,633 tour­ism-related jobs.

“We are very pleased with the results from 2018,” said Radcliff/Fort Knox Tourism Commission Director Kelly Barron in the release. “We have seen increases over the past few years and we plan to continue this trend with all that is happening in our area.”

Several attractions in the Radcliff/Fort Knox area include Boun­da­ry Oak Distillery, Fort Duf­field, General George Pa­t­ton Museum, Lind­sey Golf Course and Saun­ders Springs.

Elizabethtown Tour­ism and Convention Bureau Executive Dire­c­tor Janna Clark said they’ve also notic­ed an increase in foot traffic at the Eliza­beth­­­town Visitors Center and their attractions across the region.

“Seeing these figures confirms this growth,” she said.

Some of the attractions in the Elizabeth­town area in­clude Free­man Lake Park, Swope’s Cars of Yes­­t­er­year Museum and Eli­za­beth­town Sports Park.

Unlike Hardin Coun­ty, LaRue County did not see an increase in tourism spending. The study reported LaRue County took in $6.89 million in 2018 in tourism, a slight decline from the $6.92 in 2017.

LaRue County, according to the study, main­tains 62 tourism-related jobs.

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