Kentucky tourism

Rhonda J. Miller

Kentucky towns that depend on tourism revenue from small museums and festivals are being hit again by the recent surge of COVID-19.

As a result, one Muhlenberg County town just cancelled tourism events for the rest of the year. 

The Muhlenberg Music Museum features memorabilia of rock & roll pioneers, the Everly Brothers, Phil who died in 2014, and Don who died Saturday.

That museum and the adjacent Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum are still open with sanitizing, masking, and social distancing. 

But Central City Tourism Commission Executive Director Freddie Mayes said the annual Cruise-In car and music show scheduled for Sept. 3 and 4 that draws thousands of people has been canceled.


Lost River Cave

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the state will mirror CDC guidelines on COVID-19 announced this week, that people who are fully vaccinated do not need a mask or social distancing in most places.

Beshear said that on June 11 the state will return to 100% capacity for businesses, and no masks will be required for those who have had their shots. 

One popular tourism destination in Bowling Green is preparing to get back to normal.

Lost River Cave has had a silver lining during the pandemic. People flocked to the walking trails as outdoor spaces became a welcome , and safe, change from isolation and indoor restrictions. 

American Queen Steamboat Company

One promising sign that life may be returning to “more normal” will be at the  Henderson waterfront this spring. It’s the return of the riverboats.

The first riverboat to arrive in Henderson this spring will be the American Duchess on April 22.

It’s the first of at least 20 scheduled stops by riverboats this season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of 15 stops in Henderson last year.

The Gleaner reports that when the luxury paddlewheeler docks it will bring more than 100 visitors to shop, eat and enjoy Henderson.


National Corvette Museum Primed for Growth in 2020

Dec 26, 2019
National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum is capitalizing on a wave of adventure tourism in Kentucky. 

The Bowling Green facility welcomed more than a 250,000 visitors to the museum in 2018. President and C.E.O. Sean Preston said the Corvette is perfect for those seeking something out of the ordinary.

"Adventure tourists are people that want to see something they don't see in their everyday life.  They want to be whisked away from the daily grind of life, the Monday-through-Friday of work, and come to a place where they can just forget about that, and pay attention to, or focus on something that's so unique and so different."


Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

A new leader has been named for the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

When Sherry Murphy takes the helm, it will be a homecoming of sorts.  Murphy is a Logan County native and graduate of Western Kentucky University.  She says that she’s always had an eye on Bowling Green and what is has to offer.

"The number of attractions there in Bowling Green really makes it a tourism mecca of activity there," Murphy told WKU Public Radio.

Marshal Ray

Southern Kentucky is seeing a huge boost in tourism spending. A new study shows a 10-county region including Barren, Logan, Simpson and Warren Counties had a nearly seven percent increase in tourism receipts last year.

The numbers come from the annual Kentucky Tourism Economic Impact Report released this week.

Telia Butler is a spokeswoman for the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says the spike in regional tourism is due in part to several new Warren County attractions and events.                     

“We’ve got the Mid-South Conference athletic  championships,” says Butler. “They announced their partnership with Bowling Green to host all kinds of their championships with sports at the beginning of 2015 and they’ve been here all year.”

She says new motor sports events also added to the growth in tourism. The first full year of operation for the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park drew a large number of visitors.

Emil Moffatt

Kentucky added over 1,700 jobs in the tourism sector last year, bringing the total number of commonwealth residents employed in the tourism industry to 175,000.  Bob Stewart, Kentucky’s Secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage says the number of jobs dependent on visitors is actually a lot more. 

“We think about the front-line folks, but there are lots of other jobs,” said Stewart. “People who are involved in marketing; people who are involved in management of business and attractions and so-forth and so-on. It really does ripple through the economy.”

Overall, Kentucky saw a 2.6 percent boost in tourism spending, bringing the overall economic impact to $12.6 billion in 2013. 

Stewart says the Bourbon Trail and so-called “adventure tourism”, or activities that make use of the state’s natural resources – are among the reasons for the boost in tourists.  He also says the number of industry conventions and business meetings are also on the rise. 

Kevin Willis

A new report says the economic impact of tourism in Kentucky grew again last year.

The study reports a $12 billion impact for tourism last year.  That's up about four and a half percent from the previous year. In addition, the report credits tourism for 174,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in wages.

In a statement, tourism officials give partial credit to growth of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

The series of distilleries has drawn steady interest since it's inception in 1999, but broke an attendance record last year, drawing over half a million visitors.