• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

State releases Woodford tourism figures

The state has released figures showing that in 2017, “direct tourist spending” in Woodford County generated $48.2 million and “total tourist spending” generated $75.2 million.

According to a fact sheet from the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the study was prepared by Cartec, Inc. of Versailles, with additional analysis by the cabinet.

Other figures from 2017:

• $16.7 million in worker income was produced.

• $1,021,215 in local tax revenues was created.

• 245 jobs were “supported.”

• Tourist spending decreased by 1.7 percent compared to 2016.

Woodford County Chamber of Commerce CEO Don Vizi said a key finding of the report is that “if tourism did not exist,” Woodford County households would have paid an average of $810 more in state and local taxes.

Vizi said he believes tourism spending fell slightly in 2017 because the commission didn’t have the money to spend on advertising. He said ongoing search engine optimization and social media outreach will address that, but the biggest impact on tourism will come when the commission begins receiving hotel taxes after the Holiday Inn Express and Suites opens in August or September. “We probably won’t see that money until 2019,” Vizi said.

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