Last week, Kentucky released its annual economic tourism impact figures for 2013.
Bell County was ranked fourth in income for the 2013 season in the Daniel Boone Region and the most improved out of the other 17 counties in the region.
Bell County Tourism Director Judy Barton believes that print and web advertising in national magazines such as Southern Living, Midwest Living, More Magazine and Ladies Home Journal has helped tourism make an impact and draw dollars to the area.
“I hope we can continue to grow in tourism and make it an economy where we can sustain businesses where this will continue to be a big economic impact on our county,” said Barton.
The state generated $1,311,411,806 in state and local taxes from the tourism and travel industry in 2013.
Bell County generated 9 percent of the region’s total expenditures for the past year with $43,648,559 which was a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year.
“When you have an economic impact from tourism, money coming in from other people away from here, it takes a burden off of our taxpayers,” said Barton.
State tourism funding was reduced by the state in the year’s budget with an overall 5 percent cut. The marketing budget alone was cut by two-thirds.
Barton believes these cuts could be detrimental but she is staying positive about hopes for the year.
“Anytime you’ve got more money coming into the county, it’s going to be good for everybody — businesses, hotels, gas stations, everything,” said Barton.
Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.