What will Kentucky tourism look like in 2021? Experts discuss future draws

Experts say Louisville tourism is in good shape to bounce back.

Tourism has been one of the hardest-hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. To plan a path forward for Kentucky travel, a group of national experts and marketing professionals met to discuss the future of marketing tourism for Louisville and the region in a recent virtual presentation.

“Despite the challenges 2020 has brought our city and nation, these tourism studies show Louisville has the potential to continue the upward trajectory growth our destination was experiencing pre-pandemic,” said Louisville Tourism President & CEO Karen Williams. “The research confirms Louisville is well-positioned to rebound and continue to be a premier destination for travel.”

National experts from Arrivalist, Destination Analysts, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas (JLL), and Longwoods International shared research into tourism trends and the impacts of COVID-19. Surveys conducted pre-pandemic helped develop a profile of common Kentucky tourists and the destinations that drew them here.

Growth in tourism numbers in 2018 and 2019 show encouraging signs for the future. Overall visitation numbers, with a large percentage of repeat visitors, indicate that Louisville has a wide variety of draws and satisfies the typical traveler. Authentic and one-of-a-kind experiences will continue to set the city apart from others in the reginon.

Forecasting the future is difficult in an uncertain time, but a new master plan hopes to increase Louisville tourism from 16.4 million to 25 million visitors by 2030. Priorities like mobility, workforce development, neighborhood preservation, economic development and sustainable growth all contribute to meeting that lofty tourism goal.

See The Presentations:

— Rachel Nix

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