Frankfort investing in state tourism in a big way

Published 8:21 am Friday, July 29, 2022


The state’s tourism industry stands to get a shot in the arm to promote travel within Kentucky.

Kingdom Come State Park has recieved funds for the construction of a number of cabins inside the park/Photo by Joe Asher

Gov. Andy Beshear and tourism officials announced on Monday that Kentucky will allocate $75 million to boost the state’s tourism industry and economy following a decline in visitors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The governor said the funding is crucial for the state’s $8.9 billion tourism industry, which supports economic growth in both rural and urban communities.

“Kentucky is a world-class tourism destination, full of unique experiences that travelers and Kentuckians alike travel far and wide to enjoy,” he said. “Our tourism industry is critical to our economic success, and now is the time to invest and support our travel partners across the commonwealth as we see our economy booming and our communities and our people reaping the benefits.”

The $75 million funding from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, part of the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, was supported by the Governor and allocated by the General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session.

The funding is divided into four pools and will be distributed to eligible tourism and destination marketing organizations that apply and show the impact COVID had on their group.  Over the next several weeks, the Kentucky Department of Tourism will allocate this funding to eligible tourism organizations throughout the state, as follows:

• Pool one: $15 million will be used for statewide tourism marketing efforts.

• Pool two: $25 million will be used in a grant program for tourism commissions to market their communities.

• Pool three: $25 million will be used to attract meetings and conventions.

• Pool four: $10 million will be used for multicounty collaborative destination marketing.

“Both the governor and the General Assembly have been supportive of our efforts, and as a result of their bipartisan commitment, we are positioning Kentucky to lead the tourism and hospitality industries nationally,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Barry. “This additional funding support will give our tourism partners the resources to promote and showcase Kentucky as a diverse, welcoming destination full of travel opportunities and new adventures.”

During the pandemic, the commonwealth has invested more than $13 million in the tourism industry to strengthen promotional and advertising efforts and to encourage safe travel to Kentucky by developing new marketing campaigns.

Previously, the Governor dedicated $5.3 million in federal funding to 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties.