Gov. Beshear: $75 million to help support Kentucky tourism

Andy Beshear
File Photo

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry announced Monday that Kentucky will devote $75 million to boost the state’s tourism industry.

A release by the governor’s office stated this decision follows a decline in visitors brought on by the pandemic.

The governor said the funding is needed for the state’s $8.9 billion tourism industry, which supports economic growth in both rural and urban communities.

“Kentucky is a world-class tourism destination, full of unique experiences that travelers and Kentuckians alike travel far and wide to enjoy,” said Beshear. “Our tourism industry is critical to our economic success, and now is the time to invest and support our travel partners across the commonwealth as we see our economy booming and our communities and our people reaping the benefits.”

The release further stated the $75 million funding from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program of the American Rescue Plan Act was supported by Beshear and allocated by the General Assembly in the 2022 legislative session.

According to Beshear’s office, the funding is divided into four pools and will be distributed to eligible tourism and destination marketing organizations that apply and show the impact COVID had on them over the next several weeks. The Kentucky Department of Tourism will allocate this funding to qualifying tourism organizations throughout Kentucky, stated the release.

The release stated the $75 million in ARPA funding will be distributed as follows:

  • Pool one: $15 million will be used for statewide tourism marketing efforts.
  • Pool two: $25 million will be used in a grant program for tourism commissions to market their communities.
  • Pool three: $25 million will be used to attract meetings and conventions.
  • Pool four: $10 million will be used for multicounty collaborative destination marketing.

“Both the governor and the General Assembly have been supportive of our efforts, and as a result of their bipartisan commitment, we are positioning Kentucky to lead the tourism and hospitality industries nationally,” said Berry. “This additional funding support will give our tourism partners the resources to promote and showcase Kentucky as a diverse, welcoming destination full of travel opportunities and new adventures.”

In addition, Kentucky Department of Tourism Commissioner Mike Mangeot said they are extremely thankful to be receiving the funds for the industry and that the tourism industry is essential to the economic growth in Kentucky.