Visitor spending and visitation growth in Kentucky both increased in 2018 according to a study from Tourism Economics, the Kentucky Department of Tourism's new research partner. Spending in McCracken County totaled $262.89 million which supports 2,420 jobs and generated $20.43 million in state and local taxes.

"Tourism in Paducah-McCracken County has grown steadily over the years revealing a community of people with a passion for bettering local quality of life," said Mary Hammond, executive director of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The CVB is proud to collaborate with partners, in every segment of the travel industry, who continue to find new ways to share the Paducah experience that elevate the appeal of our Creative City as a destination for leisure and business travel."

Visitor trips to and within the commonwealth topped 71.6 million in 2018, with visitor spending climbing to nearly $7.6 billion, a 3.7% increase over the prior year and 21% increase since 2013.

"Tourism continues to play a vital role in Kentucky's economy," said Jay Hall, acting commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism.

"The growth shown in this new report is a testament to the authentic visitor experiences offered across the state, and we look forward to using this data to help increase visits, visitor spending, and tourism employment for the commonwealth and our local partners in the future."

Using the Tourism Economics model, the economic impact of the tourism industry in Kentucky went from $10.9 billion in 2017 to $11.2 billion in 2018, generating more than 94,500 jobs and $787 million in state and local taxes.