Funding will support diverse marketing efforts and encourage travel to the commonwealth
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 12, 2021) – Today, 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.
With most travel restrictions lifted within the United States, the commonwealth is priming the tourism industry for growth by developing marketing efforts to reach multicultural, national and international audiences. The diverse marketing 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,” Gov. Beshear said. “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,” said Secretary Berry. “We appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to fostering economic recovery and growth by investing in Kentucky’s tourism industry.”
Today’s announcement of the $5 million investment joins a string of positive economic news in recent weeks which indicate the commonwealth is poised to emerge from the pandemic as a leader creating more opportunities for our people 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.
The Governor 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.
Last week, the Governor announced that one of the big three credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery from the pandemic. The new rating highlighted how Kentucky’s employment recovery through March has been slightly ahead of the national pace.
Even with the pandemic, the Governor announced 270 economic development projects that will create more than 8,000 new jobs. The average pay for those jobs is one of the highest in years. He supported our rural communities with more than $124 million in investment, for 160 projects that are helping to diversify regional economies.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million.
For the latest Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. To learn more about the cabinet, visit tah.ky.gov. To learn more about Kentucky safe-cations, visit kentuckytourism.com.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.