Study shows increases in Ky. tourism dollars

PADUCAH (AP) — A study shows that tourism in Kentucky is doing pretty well.

The Paducah Sun reports that the Kentucky Cabinet for Tourism, Arts and Heritage recently released a study showing the state has seen its largest overall gain in tourism dollars since 2009.

The study says the tourism industry in the Bluegrass State generated $13.7 billion in economic impact during 2015, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year. Tourism also generated more than $1.43 billion in taxes, with $184.9 million going directly to local communities.

The tourism industry supported more than 186,000 jobs, including 6,200 jobs created in 2015.

The study divides the state’s 120 counties into nine regions, with all of the Purchase Area counties falling into the Western Waterlands category. The group of 15 counties saw an average increase of 5.8 percent in expenditures.

McCracken County saw an increase of nearly 6 percent, which local tourism officials say is impressive.

“The continued growth of tourism in Paducah and McCracken County represents direct economic impact through visitor expenditures, jobs and tax revenue,” said Mary Hammond, executive director of the Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The CVB’s ongoing efforts to promote Paducah’s cultural identity are essential to increasing awareness and impact on the community.”

The growth in other regional counties includes a 7.5 percent increase in expenditures in Marshall County, 5.3 percent in Ballard County, 6.4 percent in Caldwell County, 6.5 percent in Calloway County, 5.5 percent in Carlisle County, 4.6 percent in Fulton County, 7.2 percent in Lyon County, 4.4 percent in Livingston County, and 7.4 percent in Trigg County.

The largest percentage increase in the local region came in Hickman County, which saw a 12.5 percent jump.

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