A new report says the economic impact of tourism in Kentucky grew again last year.

The study reports a $12 billion impact for tourism last year. That's up about 4.5 percent from the previous year. In addition, the report credits tourism for 174,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in wages.

For the first time since its inception, over a half million people last year traveled the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  The new attendance record represents a 15 percent increase over 20-11.  Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experience Director Adam Johnson says there were visitors from all 50 states and over 50 countries.

Southern Illinois Tourism Office Opens

Sep 14, 2012

A tourism office in Southern Illinois has reopened two years after it was shut down by state budget cuts. The Rend Lake South Tourism Information Center will operate every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. Staff will help visitors with travel information, hotel reservations and other services to boost tourism.The state's economic development agency estimates the center will provide a $2.9 million boost to the local economy. Money to run the center comes from a state hotel tax.This makes the 11th tourism center to reopen.

Illinois had a record number of visitors in 2011, with more than 93 million tourists.  The state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said the state saw an 8.4 percent bump last year, bringing in over $31 billion for the state economy. 

On July 17th, Marshall County will settle an issue that has divided the area for months, whether or not to allow the purchase of alcohol within county lines.

Afternoon Update 5-7

May 7, 2012
Dr. Brian Choo Nature

From NPR: Scientists say dinosaurs passed so much gas, they affected climate enough to cause their demise.

From the Four Rivers Region:

The case against a man charged with the fatal 1998 Murray State University dormitory fire, will move from Calloway to Marshall County.

The Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet released the results today of the examination of the Economic Impact of Tourism for 2011.

Marshall County’s Tourism Board voted last night to support the legalization of alcohol sales in the county. The resolution in an updated version of one passed 10 years ago. It states the tourist commission believes the lack of legal alcohol is hurting tourism in the area. Tourism Director Randy Newcomb says the board needed to take an official stance on the matter. He says,