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Lexington tourism gains national momentum in 2015

Published: 02/17/2016


Lexington, KY -- Lexington attracted double-digit growth in tourism in 2015 as a result of the Breeders' Cup and increases in local food and beverage attractions, according to statistics released today from VisitLEX. In turn, national media attention also was focused on the community.

"We are excited to report that 2015 was a very successful year for Lexington, both locally and nationally," said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. "Local pride and homegrown innovation continue to reshape and evolve our dining, bourbon and craft beer scenes, inspiring more visitors and garnering attention from critically acclaimed publications.

"On a larger scale, Lexington successfully set the scene for American Pharoah's incredible Grand-Slam victory at the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Keeneland, solidifying our title as the ‘Horse Capital of the World' and placing us at the center of an iconic moment in Thoroughbred racing history."

Here are some additional highlights from 2015:

  • Hotel room revenue, up 11 percent, was driven by a 1.6 percent increase in hotel occupancy (64.5%) and a 7.5 percent increase in average daily rate ($101.01).   
  • Demand for hotel rooms grew at a healthy 5.5 percent to total almost 1.8 million.
  • Double-digit increases in hotel rooms booked through convention sales, which reached 102,575; hotel room revenue, which topped $173 million; and room tax collected, which was more than $10 million.
  • The VisitLEX service department worked with 345 groups to ensure maximum attendance and group satisfaction.
  • 95,000 people attended the two-day Breeders' Cup event at Keeneland.
  • 29 new restaurants and bars opened.
  • Eight craft breweries are now on the Brewgrass Trail, and more than 200 people completed their "passports" by visiting each brewery.
  • VisitLEX's Visitors' Center served more than 25,000 visitors, which is a 23.5 percent growth in traffic.
  • Lexington was featured in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Tribune, and Garden & Gun magazine. Much of this national coverage was the result of VisitLEX serving as host to almost 60 travel writers from across the country.

"We look forward to what 2016 has in store," Ramer said. "The united efforts of our community to support an expanded Lexington Convention Center are a crucial piece of tourism's ability to grow, increase jobs and contribute even more to the state's economy and tax revenues."

Visit http://www.visitlex.com/2015 to check out more statistics or download the infographic.

About VisitLEX
VisitLEX is a destination sales, marketing, and service organization charged with promoting Lexington's Bluegrass Region for the purpose of attracting visitors and growing the economy. For more information: www.visitlex.com

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