Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 7, 2013

Tourism makes economic impact

Boyd only county in area to show drop in spending

ASHLAND — The economic impact of tourism grew by 5.2 percent in eastern Kentucky last year, outpacing the overall statewide growth rate.

Locally, Carter County experienced a more than 8 percent jump in direct tourism expenditures during 2012 while Greenup and Lawrence counties also saw growth. Boyd County, however, saw a slight drop in tourism spending.

The economic impact of tourism statewide grew 4.4 percent and was more than $12.2 billion in 2012, according to an annual survey of the industry. Kentucky added 4,078 tourism jobs, bringing the total to more than 174,000 jobs, generating more than $2.7 billion in wages during 2012. Tourism also generated more than $1.227 billion in tax revenues for local and state governments, the report said.  

In the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet’s designated Kentucky Appalachian Region, one of nine designated regions, direct expenditures rose more than $19 million from more than $365 million to $384 million. The Kentucky Appalachians region includes: Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike and Rowan counties.

Gil Lawson, a spokesman for the tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, explained the difference between direct and indirect expenditures used to generate the report, which was prepared by Certec Inc.: “The direct spending on this report is what is actually spent on what you and I would suspect is tourism. If someone rents a room, a rental car, buys a ticket to go to an attraction.”

Direct tourism expenditures are tracked several ways, including surveys, tax revenue statistics and airport figures.

Indirect expenditures, said Lawson, are based on a formula unique to Kentucky. “It takes into account other related spending. It is intended to give a complete picture of tourism spending whether by county or state,” said Lawson. For example, when a hotel is full it may use more water and electricity or buy additional soap and towels, or a tourism attraction may need additional supplies or uniforms. Those are all indirect dollars.

In Boyd County, direct expenditures dipped from $109.3 million to $107.5 million from 2011 to 2012. Total expenditures also fell from $171.9 million to $168.9 million.

Sue Dowdy, director of the Ashland Area Visitors and Convention Bureau, said she believes Boyd’s numbers fell in relation to the continued sluggish economy. Dowdy said she believes much of the drop has come from fewer hotels filled with contractors and construction workers.

Lawson also downplayed the drop in Boyd County, which was roughly 2 percent. “That is a one-year comparison,” he said. “That is not a major setback. It is good to have a plus sign there to show you are going in the right direction, but when you get down to the county level, there are many reasons those figures could be off,” Lawson said.

In Greenup County, direct tourism expenditures grew from $11.5 million in 2011 to $12.4 million in 2012. Total expenditures rose from $18.2 million to $19.6 million.

It was an increase Greenup Tourism Director Bobby Allen was delighted to see. “Any increase for us is great because we are a very small county tourism wise, in terms of what we have to offer.

“That shows a growing economy to me, and that county leaders and organizations are doing all they can to help Greenup County move forward,” he added.  Allen said the Friends of Greenbo, a non-profit dedicated to helping Greenbo Lake State Resort Park grow, is continuing to explore and help implement new attractions at the park, including the soon-to-open Scuba refuge.

Tourism officials in Carter County also pointed to increased collaboration and dedicated volunteer groups for the improvement in tourism dollars.

Carter County reported $19.3 million in direct expenditures in 2011, compared to $21 million in 2012, an 8.8 percent change. Total expenditures rose from $30.3 million to $33 million.

“We’re excited about it,” said Brandon Fraley, chairman of the Grayson Tourism and Convention Commission. “Hopefully we can continue the momentum into next year. I think what it really starts with is a group of individuals who really want to promote the community where we live and where we’re all from,” he said, noting the agency tries to partner with as many businesses, agencies and groups as possible to promote activities and attractions.

Carter County also has added attractions in recent years, including Rock Springs Winery and new horse trails in Olive Hill. In Grayson, officials are working to develop new events, including a three-day Hometown Holiday celebration around Christmas; they hope the event will bring visitors downtown to shop, boosting local business revenue as well as attracting vendors and others.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about volunteers getting out and truly promoting their community and giving people reasons to come through (the community),” said Fraley.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindpendent.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks

    Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
    The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.

    April 15, 2014

  • Shay receives 38 years for fatal shooting

    Casey R. Shay, 27, of Morehead, was sentenced Monday to 38 years in prison for the fatal shooting last year of Cassandra M. “Cassie” Owens, 21.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416homegarden.jpg Space not problem with home garden

    Growing your own dinner is not a concept lost on Kenny Imel.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greenup court jumpstarts road repairs

    As part of the Greenup County Fiscal Court’s annual expenses, the court approved the first reading of an ordinance that allots up to $1.5 million for blacktopping damaged county roads.

    April 15, 2014

  • Nursing home reports drug theft to APD

    Woodland Oaks Health Care Facility, 1820 Oakview Road, on Monday reported the theft of 30 hydrocodone tablets from a secured area within the nursing home.

    April 15, 2014

  • Devices left from previous construction discovered

    All four lanes of U.S. 23 were shut down for nearly two hours Tuesday following the discovery of old explosives on a hillside rock cut.
    The devices apparently were left over from a previous construction project and were discovered by a crew working on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge, Russell Police Chief Tim Wilson said.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boyd walk to raise awareness of autism

    The differences in the nine children in Carla Malone’s classroom are striking.
    A few can talk, but some won’t make a sound and others jabber apparent nonsense sounds.
    There are playful children and those who keep to themselves. Some of the children can read and do other academic tasks. Schoolwork for others means matching pictures and doing exercises to develop fine motor skills, like learning to hold a pencil.

    April 15, 2014

  • Grimes outpaces McConnell in first quarter

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has again outpaced her likely Republican general election opponent, incumbent Mitch McConnell, in fundraising during the first quarter — but she remains well behind McConnell in total fundraising and cash on hand.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416explosives0166 copy.jpg UPDATE: U.S. 23 reopened; explosives eliminated

    More information on the U.S. 23 closure from the the Kentucky Department of Highways.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • BREAKING: Explosives find shuts down U.S. 23

    All four lanes of U.S. 23 have been shut down to the discovery of undetonated explosives on a hillside, authorities said.

    April 15, 2014