LEXINGTON, Ky. – VisitLEX recognized 16 people as Hometown Hosts at a recent luncheon at the Keene Barn at Keeneland.

Developed by VisitLEX in 2004, the Recommend LEX Program provides support and resources to anyone in Kentucky who can influence and be instrumental in bringing meetings, conventions and events to Lexington. VisitLEX’s goal is to make the planning process easier for the Hometown Host by providing meeting and hotel options, specialty venue ideas, electric bid presentations, site visit coordination and creative local group activities. 

These Hometown Hosts were responsible for bringing in 34,781 visitors representing 10,069 room nights to Lexington.

"No one understands Lexington’s assets and attractions better than someone who lives or works here," VisitLEX President Mary Quinn Ramer said. "These Hometown Hosts are an important part of our strategy for attracting conventions and events to Lexington." 

Lexington tourism and conventions brought in more than $16 million in tax revenue and $191 million in total room revenue in 2017.

This year’s Hometown Host honorees, who were presented with a commemorative award, are:

  • Jerry Cecil, retired Army Colonel, 173rd Airborne Brigade Association, for the association’s 2017 Task Force Black Reunion
  • Kristen Branscum, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism, for Travel South USA’s 2018 Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting
  • Ryan F. Quarles, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Tina Garland, administrative branch manager; and Amanda Kidd, program coordinator - division of food, Kentucky Department of Agriculture; for the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs’ 2018 Annual Conference
  • Jarrod and Jaime Greer, creators/owners of The Lexington Comic and Toy Convention for its 2018 convention
  • Ben Robinson, program manager; Paul Wilkes, program coordinator; and Meagan Huston, administrative specialist at the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources; for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program’s 2018 Coordinators Meeting of the Southeast Region
  • Susan Clary, clerk of the Supreme Court of Kentucky, for the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks’ 2017 Executive Committee Meeting and 2019 NCACC Annual Meeting
  • Gabe Knowles, product engineer at Lexmark International, for the USA Ultimate’s 2017 Division III College National Championships
  • Ron van Haaren, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Downtown Lexington, for Cal Ripken Baseball’s 2018 Ohio Valley Regional 11U Tournament
  • Samuel Mitchell, CEO, and Kristie Daniel, meetings and events manager of Valvoline Instant Oil Change, for the 2018 Valvoline Core North America Convention and the 2018 Valvoline Instant Oil Change Corporate Workshop
  • Jeffrey Johnson, volunteer services manager at Eastern State Hospital, for the Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders’         2018 Annual Convention

VisitLEX, BTMA and BHA celebrate these Hometown Hosts as integral members of the Bluegrass travel and tourism community on the heels of National Tourism Week which was held May 6-12, 2018. National Tourism Week is an annual celebration when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being.