FRANKFORT, Ky. — Millions of dollars are heading to the Commonwealth soon to encourage tourism. Gov. Andy Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry announced the commonwealth has committed $5 million in federal CARES Act funding to help boost the state’s tourism industry by encouraging safe travel to all 120 Kentucky counties.
What You Need To Know
- $5 million is being invested in Kentucky tourism as part of federal CARES Act funding
- The funds will be used for marketing purposes to encourage travel to the Commonwealth
- Kentucky tourism is an $11.8 billion industry and serves as a mechanism for generating revenue in every county
- Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitor spending in Kentucky reached nearly $8 billion
With most travel restrictions lifted within the U.S., Beshear said Kentucky is priming its tourism industry for growth by developing marketing efforts to reach multicultural, national and international audiences. The efforts will focus on leisure travel as well as attracting meetings and sporting events to Kentucky.
“To be a leader in the post-COVID economy, we must invest in our tourism industry,” Beshear said in a statement to Spectrum News 1. “To Kentucky families, visitors and businesses thinking about their next trip or meeting, know that Kentucky is open, our economy is setting all-time-high records and we are committed to safe travel. Start planning your trip now.”
Kentucky tourism is an $11.8 billion industry and serves as a mechanism for generating revenue in every county. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitor spending in Kentucky reached nearly $8 billion.
“This critical funding support is a significant step for our industry, and reinforces the Governor’s commitment for ensuring the tourism industry is part of the solution for building a better, stronger Kentucky for the future,” Berry said. “We appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to fostering economic recovery and growth by investing in Kentucky’s tourism industry.”
The new $5 million investment joins a string of positive economic news in recent weeks which show Kentucky is poised to emerge from the pandemic as a leader, creating more opportunities for those in every corner of the state.
This week, the Governor announced record sales tax and motor vehicle usage tax receipts, a direct indicator of strong economic activity that also sets up Kentucky to have an estimated surplus of more than $586 million. This estimate puts the state on pace to end the current fiscal year with over $1 billion in the rainy day fund – the most money ever in a rainy day fund in Kentucky.
Beshear announced that despite COVID-19, Kentucky Main Street communities finished last year strong with a reported $45.5 million cumulative investment in downtown commercial districts. This positive economic news represents $28.1 million in private spending matched by $17.4 million in public improvements with a net gain of 842 new jobs, 122 new businesses and 66 rehabilitation projects.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury also announced this week that Kentucky will receive $2.183 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, with the allotment smaller than an earlier estimate because of the state’s positive economic performance.