Beshear's Budget Recommends Cutting Tourism Funds, Even Though It Is Already Behind Most States
Kentucky’s tourism industry is seen as a money making business in many communities across the Commonwealth. But, money to invite travelers to Kentucky still lags behind neighboring states.
Department of Travel Commissioner Mike Mangeot says the state spends more than $1.5 million dollars in paid tourist advertising. Mangeot, who testified before the Senate Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee Thursday, says it puts the state in 42nd place nationally in domestic advertising.
Commissioner Mangeot says bus tour business in Kentucky has slowed in recent years. Tourism marketing veteran Sharalee Scanlon says bus operators are looking for new attractions. She believes the legendary ‘moonshine’ liquor offers tourist opportunities.
“They are clamoring for anything new because they can’t get old people on buses right now because the old people don’t want to do boring things,” Scanlon said. “They go, we’ll do this. Everybody loves bourbon and moonshine. Oh, they’ll think that’s really neat.”
Travel Commissioner Mangeot says Governor Beshear’s recommended budget calls for a five percent cut in his agency’s general fund. He says his department’s biggest tool is its website, which has seen an almost 50 percent increase in activity over the past year.