May 2 – 8 is National Tourism Week around the U.S. but in Kentucky, tourism celebrations started early with events surrounding the Kentucky Derby.
Tourism Week unites the industry to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses, and personal well-being. As the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting local tourism is more important than ever.
Omni Louisville anticipated strong business over Derby weekend with visitors feeling more comfortable with travel. Omni Louisville General Manager Eamon O’Brien sees the Derby as a launchpad for new tourism momentum for Louisville.
“We anticipate continued reopening and increased capacity at local sporting events, museums, and restaurants,” O’Brien said. “The Omni is eager to welcome back Louisville businesses and share them with our guests.”
In addition to the Derby, O’Brien said the recent announcement of a new concert series at Louisville Waterfront Park will also draw more visitors, along with traditional tourism magnets such as bourbon distilleries and related hospitality and Louisville’s returning restaurant scene.
How you can support Kentucky tourism
Eat at locally-owned restaurants. While we might not be able to physically travel internationally, our palates can still explore the globe! Restaurants like Farmer and Frenchman Winery & Café outside of Henderson use Kentucky ingredients to create European-inspired dishes. Check out Kentucky Tourism’s top foodie small towns here.
Stay at a nearby hotel like the Omni Louisville which blends the city’s history with modern comforts. Whether it’s in your hometown or a few hours’ drive away, we all deserve a getaway after the past year.
Visit a state or national park like Cumberland Falls, Natural Bridge, or Mammoth Cave. Research shows spending time in nature is important to both our physical and mental health and we are lucky to have an abundance of beautiful nature in Kentucky!
Check out one of the 18 distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. When you tour a distillery, you don’t just get a few sips of Kentucky’s finest drink (although we think that’s a good enough reason to visit!), you learn about the Kentuckians who made it famous, the history behind it, and the people who carry on those traditions today.