. - By Hank Phillips
Kentucky Travel Association.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As the tourism season begins to shift from summer travel to festivals and other fall experiences, this is a good time to reflect on the business of tourism and what that business means to Kentucky.
Tourism is the state's third largest industry, fueling $14.5 billion in economic activity, supporting 193,000 Kentucky jobs and producing over one and a half billion dollars in local and state tax revenue. And it bulks up your wallet too – nearly $1,200 in taxes are saved by Kentucky families thanks to revenue generated by tourism.
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Nationally, tourism is a hotly competitive business. Just consider the out of state commercials we see here in Kentucky; Pure Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee. People in some of those states see Kentucky commercials, but not many, because Kentucky is in the bottom third in state tourism marketing funding.
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Besides a restaurant tax in some of our smallest cities, local and state tourism marketing is funded through hotel room taxes. That means that the funding of tourism marketing largely comes from visitors and not Kentucky taxpayers.
With a competitive national tourism marketplace, we must protect the funds we have. Please tell your legislator: Don't reduce the tourism funds we already have and don't re-direct them for uses other than tourism.
Tourism pays huge dividends for Kentuckians. Let's keep their tourism dividends coming.