Bourbon Industry

Bluegrass-area tourism up 2.8 percent in 2012

A crowded sidewalk filled with fans of model horses during Breyerfest at the Kentucky 
Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., on July 20, 2012.
A crowded sidewalk filled with fans of model horses during Breyerfest at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., on July 20, 2012. Lexington Herald-Leader

The Kentucky annual tourism survey showed an increase in Lexington in 2012 and gains in nine of the state's tourism regions, according to the Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

In the "Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone Region," which includes Lexington, spending was up 2.8 percent on the year for a total of $1.7 billion in direct expenditures.

Jim Browder, president of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a news release: "The beauty of tourism is that it cannot be outsourced; it's a great economic driver for any community that truly wishes to embrace it, as we have in Lexington's Bluegrass region."

Tourism is one of Kentucky's top industries, according to the news release, with an annual economic impact in 2012 of more than $12.2 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent from 2011.

The annual survey also showed that tourism was responsible for 174,006 jobs in Kentucky in 2012, an increase of 4,078 jobs from the previous year. These jobs generated more than $2.7 billion in wages for Kentucky workers, an increase of $117 million from 2011.

More details about the tourism economic impact study are available online at Kentuckytourism.com/industry.

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