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Report: Southern Kentucky Region Sees Biggest Jump in Tourism Spending

National Corvette Museum

A ten-county region in southern Kentucky is seeing the biggest increase in tourism revenue in the state.

The region including Warren, Barren, Simpson, and Logan counties experienced a 6.7 percent jump in tourism and travel spending in 2014 versus the year before. A report from the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet says the state saw a 4.4 percent increase in tourism dollars last year. 

Telia Butler, with the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says record-setting attendance at the National Corvette Museum was one reason why the southern Kentucky region saw its gains.

“We definitely can thank the sinkhole that happened in February of last year. They made lemonade out of lemons out of what could have been a very negative thing over what happened over there,” Butler said, referring to the sinkhole that opened up beneath the Corvette Museum’s skydome, swallowing up several vintage vehicles.

Far from driving visitors away from the museum, the massive publicity created by the story drew visitors from around the world to the Bowling Green attraction.

Elsewhere in Kentucky, the region including Bardstown, Elizabethtown, and Louisville saw a five percent increase in tourism spending, while the region including Henderson, Madisonville, and Owensboro enjoyed a 4.3 percent boost.

The ten-county region including Adair, Cumberland, Pulaski, Russell, and Taylor counties had a 2.4 percent increase.

Butler believes all areas of the state are benefiting from the surge in popularity of several tourism sectors.

“I think part of it has to do with how trendy the whole bourbon and horses aspect of tourism is, because that Bourbon Trail and Craft Bourbon Trail are seeing more and more trafficevery year.”

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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