Kentucky Association of Counties

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Kentucky Association of Counties


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Economic impact of tourism on counties in 2023

Spending by visitors had a total economic impact of $13.8 billion in 2023
According to a report released by the Kentucky Department of Tourism, visitors to Kentucky generate significant economic benefits to households, businesses, and government alike and represent a critical driver of the state’s future. In 2023, visitor-supported jobs accounted for more than 3.5% of all jobs in the state.

In 2023, 79.3 million visitors spent $9.7 billion on goods and services in Kentucky. Visitor volume grew by 4.5% while spending increased 9.3%.

Visitor spending generated a total economic impact of $13.8 billion in Kentucky in 2023 including $4.0 billion in indirect and induced impacts. This total economic impact sustained 95,222 jobs and generated $1.0 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2023.

Of the $9.7 billion spent in 2023 by visitors to Kentucky, food and beverage accounted for $2.5 billion, or 26% of visitor purchases. Spending on lodging, including short term rentals and the value of second homes, resulted in $2.3 billion of visitor spending or 23% of the total. Retail spending reached $1.8 billion or 19% of visitor purchases. Recreation and entertainment spending totaled $1.3 billion and accounted for 13% of visitor spending.

County Impacts

Statewide, the total economic impact of tourism equaled $3,049 per person in 2023.

The top five largest counties (Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Warren and Boone) saw the most visitor spending, jobs related to tourism and economic impact.

However, the economic impact of tourism on a per capita basis varied across counties. Boone County had the highest per capita economic impact at $9,470 followed by Jefferson ($5,433), Fayette ($5,029), McCracken ($4,732), Carroll ($4,314), Simpson ($4,006), Lyon ($3,973), Kenton ($3,368), Warren ($3,356) and Christian ($3,319).

See tourism spending, jobs and economic impact by county here.

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