The tourism and travel industry in Kentucky had an economic impact of more than $15 billion in 2017, according to a report from the Kentucky Department of Tourism.
In Hardin County, local tourism generated $245,753,375 in direct expenditures in 2017, according to a news release. Income derived from tourism in Hardin County increased by $16.8 million over 2016.
“The $245 million that visitors brought to our area last year underscores the value of what we do and the significant impact that tourism has on the local economy,” said Kelly Barron, executive director of the Radcliff-Fort Knox Convention & Tourism Commission.
All of the state’s tourism regions showed gains in 2017. Hardin County is part of the Bourbon, Horses and History region. In 2017, Hardin County ranked as the sixth highest income-producing county in the state, according to the release.
Sherry Murphy, executive director of the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau, said in the release that 2017 was a great year for tourism in Hardin County.
“Not only did we welcome more travelers to the (Elizabethtown) Sports Park than ever before, we saw more hospitality business developments happening in Elizabethtown,” she said. “We are very happy 2017 held a steady growth in the local hospitality industry and we look forward to continued growth and development for years to come.”
Murphy and Barron will speak today at the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon. The program begins at noon at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown.
Statewide, Kentucky’s tourism industry generated more than $1.5 billion in tax revenues to the government with $202 million going directly to local communities, according to the release. The industry supported nearly 195,000 jobs in Kentucky in 2017.
“The tourism industry is a driving force for Kentucky’s economy and the 2017 economic impact numbers reinforce this,” Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum said in the release. “We look at growth in our state in terms of investment and the impact numbers prove that visitors are investing their money and time into Kentucky.”