LEXINGTON – A new state survey showed that Fayette County ranked second in the state with direct visitor spending of $880 million and total spending of $1.27 billion.

 “Economic Impact of Visitors in Kentucky in 2021” found that visitor spending in Kentucky increased by 31% in 2021, a bounce back after the deep declines in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Spending grew across all sectors, driven by both pent-up demand as well as increases in prices, especially in lodging and transportation.

“The resurgence of tourism in Fayette County and the entire state is good news for our local businesses, employment and tax base,” said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. “To rebound from the pandemic is a great tribute to the perseverance and resilience of our people, local and state partnerships, local attractions, and the entire community, which always welcomes visitors with true hospitality.”

Tourism is one of Kentucky’s top industries with an economic impact in 2021 of almost $11.2 billion. The industry was responsible for more than 83,000 jobs in Kentucky in 2021 as well as $808 million in local and state taxes.  

“Our best days are ahead of us as we build on the success and ingenuity of our local businesses and attractions,” Ramer said. “With the Breeders’ Cup this fall and momentum from the new Central Bank Center, we expect to add to the success of 2021 this year.”

Tourism Economics produced the survey for the Kentucky Department of Tourism.