LEXINGTON - A new state survey released today showed that total travel spending in 2015 topped the $2 billion mark for the first time ever in Fayette County.

"The dollars spent by visitors have strengthened Lexington's economy by creating jobs, supporting local businesses from gas stations to restaurants to retail stores, and generating tax revenues to support our community," said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX.

According to the "Economic Impact of Kentucky's Travel and Tourism Industry - 2014 and 2015," Fayette County had $2.02 billion in total travel spending. For the 15-county region that includes Lexington, expenditures were a little more than $3 billion.

Tourism is one of Kentucky's top industries with an annual economic impact in 2015 of more than $13.7 billion.

The annual survey also showed that tourism was responsible for more than 186,000 jobs in Kentucky in 2015. These jobs generated nearly $3.1 billion in wages for Kentucky workers, an increase of $146 million from 2014.

In the 15-county region, tourism employment was 26,796 -- with Fayette County making up well more than half of that with 15,339.

Tourism generated $1.44 billion in tax revenues for local and state governments in 2015, an increase from $1.37 billion in 2014.

The release of the figures coincides with National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated May 7 through May 13.

The survey was produced for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet by Certec Inc. of Versailles. More details about the tourism economic impact study are available at www.kentuckytourism.com/industry.

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