Boyle County saw 10 percent increase in tourism spending

Published 8:59 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

Boyle County saw an increase of 10.6 percent in tourism spending in 2017, according to numbers released from the Kentucky Department of Tourism.

That is a good surprise, said Jennifer Kirchner, executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

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“That percentage of growth really exceeded my expectations … That’s a significant increase,” she said. “We’re thrilled. It’s just more money that we get that we can put back into the community to keep it growing.”

She shared the numbers during a Wednesday morning meeting of the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. 

In 2017, direct tourist spending totaled $62,875,261, which is money going back into the economy, Kirchner said.

“That’s how much tourism injected into Boyle County (last year). That’s a lot of money,” she said. “That’s a lot of money directly to the people who are trying to make a living here.”

The state numbers also show that tourism spending supported $21,788,106 in worker income; 904 jobs; and $1,331,158 in local tax revenues. It also accounted for $98,841,482 in spending in total tourism dollars. Kirchner explained that includes secondary businesses that are impacted, such as linen services, marketing companies, dry cleaning services, attorneys and others.

After the meeting, Kirchner said that in the past, “good growth” has been considered to be around five percent.

“We were thrilled with that. So to see that doubled this year, to me, really speaks to the strength of tourism,” she said.

Kirchner said it was important to note that tourism in Boyle County doesn’t look like tourism in other places.

“Tourism is in everything we all do all the time,” Kirchner said. “I think tourism is extremely valuable and important for Boyle County and when we think about all the ways it touches our lives, we can really see how relevant and big it is.”

Weekend travelers or the traditional “tourists” make up about 25 percent of the market in Boyle County. The bulk, she said, comes from other areas, such as travel related to Centre College, sports and business.

“When we talk about tourism and what it does for Boyle County, we have to remember all of those factors,” she said. “To me, the 10 percent growth signifies businesses growing just across the board … I think it’s a really good economic indicator for us locally, that we’re in a significant period of growth.”

Kirchner said there’s lots of room for growth in the area of sports tourism, which will impact Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation. That’s why she’s “heavily involved” in the parks master plan process.

“It’s limited right now, but a longterm goal for us is to increase that market,” she said.