Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear awards $3.5M in recovery funding to tourism groups

AM AARON KY TOURISM FUNDING VO.transfer_frame_298.jpeg
Posted at 9:38 AM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 10:38:08-04

LOUSIVILLE, Ky. (WTVF) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear joined the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and members of the General Assembly to announce that 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties will receive a total of $5.3 million in funding.

"Tourism brings more than 67 million people to our state each year, and that number is set to grow even more. Whether it’s spending the afternoon fishing on a Western Kentucky lake, taking in the scenic views of Natural Bridge and the amazing moonbow at Cumberland Falls, or getting a taste of our world-famous bourbon and the fastest two minutes in sports, you’re going to find special things to see and do here in the commonwealth," Gov. Beshear said.

The Beshear Administration said they’re committed to ensuring the tourism industry is positioned to thrive in a post-pandemic economy.

In December, the governor reinforced his commitment to the industry by dedicating more than $5.3 million in federal funding to promote travel, tourism and outdoor recreation in the commonwealth.

The governor announced that more than $4.6 million will be directly awarded to tourism and destination marketing organizations. Tourism partners from the following organizations joined the governor in Frankfort to celebrate the administration’s latest investment in the tourism industry.

  • Louisville Tourism: $1,368,474
  • meetNKY: $883,155
  • VisitLex: $544,959
  • Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau: $164,155
  • Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau: $114,446
  • Visit Ownesboro: $90,202
  • Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau: $89,364

"This funding will allow us to market and advertise and bring people back to Louisville," said Cleo Battle, president and CEO of Louisville Tourism.

An additional $678,624 will be allocated directly to the commonwealth’s nine tourism regions to support regional marketing and promotion.

Previously, the governor dedicated $2.8 million in federal funding to support the creation of regional marketing campaigns.

The total economic investment for tourism and destination marketing organizations combined with the regional distribution is as follows:

  • Bourbon, Horses and History: $1,727,086
  • Northern Kentucky River: $1,024,686
  • Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone: $937,804
  • Western Waterlands: $376,335
  • Caves, Lakes and Corvettes: $347,052
  • Bluegrass, Blues and BBQ: $251,821
  • Kentucky Appalachians: $250,125
  • Daniel Boone Country: $236,787
  • Southern Kentucky Vacations: $194,554

Funding awards are based on the respective counties' share of the 2019 Economic Impact Report. For the full list of funding recipients, visit

Tourism is an $8.9 billion industry that supports economic growth in both rural and urban communities in Kentucky. Throughout the pandemic, the commonwealth has invested more than $13 million in the tourism industry to strengthen promotional and advertising effortsand encourage safe travel to Kentucky through the development of new marking campaigns.

To keep visitors coming, the governor’s recent budget proposal directs $200 million in one-time funding to Kentucky State Parks.

Funding would support essential preservation projects, maintenance, repair and new projects at state parks across the commonwealth.