Tourism, the arts and Kentucky heritage are the focus of our cabinet. Tourism development includes new attractions, new accommodations, expansion of existing tourism venues, convention/conference marketing, and sports venues. We encourage and provide support in market development for our artists, historic downtown redevelopment, film opportunities, equine headquarter expansion, expanding recreation opportunities, attracting international trade shows or sporting events, and expanding museums and special exhibits. All these activities contribute to Kentucky’s economic success.
Tourism is nearly an $13.1 billion a year industry in Kentucky and has earned recognition at the cabinet level. The arts are an essential part of quality life in the Commonwealth and a major component in everything we do including educating our children. Heritage preserves our traditions and tells our life stories. It includes the history, heritage and humanities groups that this cabinet represents. Kentucky places a high value on tourism, arts and heritage.
The Cabinet includes the following agencies: the Department of Tourism, Department of Parks, the Office of Adventure Tourism, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Historical Society, Humanities Council, State Fair Board, Heritage Council, Center for African American Heritage, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Governor’s School for the Arts, Kentucky Artisans Center in Berea, Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Film Office.
The Cabinet also has the Office of Research and Administration, whose primary mission is to provide up-to-date statistical analysis of tourism trends in order to facilitate a successful tourism marketing campaign. Certec, Inc. provides a county and state level tourism expenditures report, which tracks the economic impact of travel throughout Kentucky. Smith Travel Research provides monthly lodging data, including hotel occupancy and revenue, by region and on a statewide level. The office also retains professional membership in the U.S. Travel Association and Travel and Tourism Research Association, both of which provide national statistical data related to tourism. This information is distributed through electronic newsletters so that attractions and tourism offices across Kentucky can target their marketing and promotional campaigns.
Research shows that we have the most widely known state brand – Kentucky Unbridled Spirit - in this part of the country.