Local Tourism

Moving Forward, As a Region

Now is the time for major growth in Appalachian Kentucky tourism. We have the attractions, the arts and culture infrastructure, the lodging in our great State Park system, the culinary prowess and the early development of the Pine Mountain Trail of the Great Eastern Trail, among our many offerings.

Trends in Kentucky Tourism

Increased tourism will inject much needed tourism dollars into struggling communities and can be developed into a sustainable means of economic development year-round. Developing tourism along a central spine, such as Hwy 119 through Bell, Harlan and Letcher Counties, will provide a robust tourism destination with multiple points of interaction, sites of agri-tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and outdoor sports and recreation.

Increasing numbers of travelers are seeking out more authentic and place based destinations. Someplace out of the way, where they can unwind, as opposed to getting wound up.

Source: Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism 2018 Economic Impact Report, Pub. May 2019

KY Travel Stats

Tourists in Kentucky spent approximately $7.8 billion during 2012, up 7.4% from 2010. Travelers stop in to town and spend their dollars for lodging, dining, recreation, shopping, entertainment, etc. This spending supported nearly 121,800 jobs throughout the state in related industries such as hotels, restaurants, retailers and recreational facilities.

Source: Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism 2018 Economic Impact Report Pub May 2019

Proof of Concept

Contributions to the Kentucky Economy from Cumberland Gap National Park 2018

In 2018, 684,000 park visitors spent an estimated $44.1 million in local gateway regions while visiting Cumberland Gap National Park. These expenditures supported a total of 603 jobs, $18.8 million in labor income, $32.3 million in value added and $56.4 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Cumberland Gap National Park.

Source: National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects 2018