Kentucky will allocate $75 million to boost the state’s tourism industry and economy following a decline in visitors brought on by the pandemic.
“Kentucky is a world-class tourism destination, full of unique experiences that travelers and Kentuckians alike travel far and wide to enjoy,” said Gov. Andy Beshear on the state’s $8.9 billion tourism industry. “Our tourism industry is critical to our economic success, and now is the time to invest and support our travel partners across the commonwealth as we see our economy booming and our communities and our people reaping the benefits.”
The $75 million funding from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program of the American Rescue Plan Act, also known as ARPA, had bipartisan support in the legislature and governor’s office. The funding is divided into four pools and will be distributed to eligible tourism and destination marketing organizations that apply and show the impact COVID had on their group. Over the next several weeks, the Kentucky Department of Tourism will allocate this funding to eligible tourism organizations throughout the commonwealth.
The $75 million in ARPA funding will be distributed as follows:
- Pool one: $15 million will be used for statewide tourism marketing efforts.
- Pool two: $25 million will be used in a grant program for tourism commissions to market their communities.
- Pool three: $25 million will be used to attract meetings and conventions.
- Pool four: $10 million will be used for multicounty collaborative destination marketing.
“Both the Governor and the General Assembly have been supportive of our efforts, and as a result of their bipartisan commitment, we are positioning Kentucky to lead the tourism and hospitality industries nationally,” said Secretary Mike Berry. “This additional funding support will give our tourism partners the resources to promote and showcase Kentucky as a diverse, welcoming destination full of travel opportunities and new adventures.”
Throughout the pandemic, the commonwealth has invested more than $13 million in the tourism industry to strengthen promotional and advertising efforts and to encourage safe travel to Kentucky through the development of new marketing campaigns, an announcement said.
“Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is vital for Kentucky’s tourism recovery, and we are extremely thankful to be receiving this funding for the industry,” said Kentucky Department of Tourism Commissioner Mike Mangeot. “The tourism industry is essential to the economic growth of Kentucky.”