Tourism generated $12.9 billion in Kentucky in 2022

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023


Last year was the best year on record for tourism in Kentucky, with $12.9 billion generated in economic impact and responsible for 91,668 jobs.

Gov. Andy Beshear joined state tourism leaders at Lexington’s Crank & Broom Craft Ice Cream in the city’s Distillery District to celebrate the record-breaking year, which, for the first time, saw visitation surpass pre-pandemic volumes.

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“Tourism is essential to Kentucky and that is why I have made it a priority to support this industry,” Beshear said.  “It’s thrilling to see our hard work pay off in such a historic way.  From horse country and outdoor adventure to history, arts, culture and our world-famous bourbon, Kentucky has a little something for every traveler.  But what really sets us apart is the hospitality and kindness of the hardworking Kentuckians in this industry.”

In 2022, 75.9 million travelers visited Kentucky, spending $8.9 billion across the state, according to a study by Tourism Economics.  More than $937 million in state and local taxes were generated, equating to a $536 tax savings for every Kentucky household.  Total visitation reached 103% of 2019 volumes, and visitor spending was 112%, compared to four years ago.

“What an incredible achievement for our tourism industry: record-breaking numbers of visitors, jobs and tax revenue in 2022,” stated Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier.  “These numbers underscore the economic benefits of tourism and the importance of investing in our local communities. The investments made by Gov. Beshear have paid off and will continue to pay dividends across the commonwealth.  Every community in Kentucky offers a unique experience for travelers, and we are proud to support them in their efforts.”

In this part of Kentucky, 52 percent of overnight visitors said they were visiting relatives or friends. A total of 43 percent were visiting from somewhere else in Kentucky, 14 percent came from Ohio and 9 percent from Indiana. Of those who visited the region, only 30 percent reported staying in a hotel, and 44 percent said they dined at local eateries.