$73M: That’s value of tourism to Bullitt County

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By the Numbers

By Alex Wimsatt

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - How much does Bullitt County’s tourism industry contribute to the local economy?

Try $73 million.

During the last regular meeting of the Shepherdsville/Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission, county tourism director Troy Beam shared a report that showed Bullitt County tourism contributed over 73 million dollars to the local economy in 2011, up over $654,000 from 2010.

“The dollars spent by visitors have strengthened Bullitt County’s economy by creating jobs, supporting local businesses from gas stations to retail stores and generating tax revenues to support our community,” Beam said. 

With an annual economic impact of nearly $11.7 billion in 2011, tourism is one of Kentucky’s top industries, according to an annual survey produced by Certec Inc. of Versailles for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

The annual survey also showed that tourism was responsible for 169,932 jobs in Kentucky in 2011, a small increase from the previous year. These jobs generated more than $2.6 billion in wages for Kentucky workers, an increase of $76 million from 2010. 

Tourism generated $1.22 billion in tax revenues for local and state governments in 2011, according to the report.

“Tourism brings in outside money which is a big, big plus,” Beam said. “When Bullitt Countians are spending money in the community that’s one thing, but when visitors are spending money it eases the burden on local people.”

Beam called hotels an “anchor” for Bullitt County’s tourism industry, citing that each guest spends an estimated $300 in the community.

“Getting people to spend the night here is a big thing,” Beam said, adding that local attractions play a significant role in the county’s tourism industry.

“Without being a destination people aren’t going to stop here,” he said. “Sure people are stopping on their way someplace else, but there are a lot of people who come to see all the things that make Bullitt County unique...All that adds up to making us a destination.” 

In other business:

*Paroquet Spring Conference Centre director Vicki Downing and Bullitt County Tourism Director Troy Beam presented their budget proposals for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year, which begins on July 1. 

The conference center is projected to receive $1.7 million in revenue in the coming fiscal year, up slightly from the current fiscal year.

Motel tax revenue, which is split between the conference center and tourism with tourism receiving over 74 percent and the conference center receiving the rest, is projected to be $445,000 in 2012-2013. 

With consistent increases in conference center sales over the past year, sales are expected to rise in the coming fiscal year, projected to be $777,300 in 2012-2013.

Conference center cost of sales are projected to stay much the same in the coming fiscal year. 

Restaurant tax revenue, which is directed to the conference center, is projected to spike around $100,000 to $615,000 in 2012-2013. 

Beam said there was nothing out of the ordinary with tourism’s roughly $400,000 budget proposal, but he is factoring in a two percent increase in revenue.

Downing said the conference center’s budget is similar to the current fiscal year budget, however, with utilities going up the budget includes more for sewer and phone service.

The 2012-2013 budget also has $396,800 set aside for capital expenditures, which includes $127,800 for conference center improvements and $220,000 to build a decorative terrace outside of the conference center’s McDowell Ballroom. 

The rest of the capital expenditures budget is set aside for community events such as the 4th of July Bullitt Blast.

*After discussing how to promote local tourist attractions and tourism related businesses, the commission decided to form a committee. 

The committee will be charged with finding economical ways to highlight all that Bullitt County has to offer.

The commission did not determine exactly who will sit on the committee.  

*          Commission treasurer James Watkins reported that the commission collected more lodging tax revenue than ever before.

March lodging tax receipts deposited in April were $53,807. During the same period last year the commission collected $42,047. 

Commissioner and hotelier Jay Patel, who owns the Hampton Inn in Brooks, said March was a good month for his establishment. 

His fellow commissioner, Bill Barnes, who owns the Best Western in Shepherdsville, said it seemed as though more people were traveling during the month of March.

Barnes speculated that the surge in hotel guests may have been a result of the unseasonably warm weather the region saw in March.

April restaurant tax receipts also rose significantly from the previous year.

While the commission collected $39,220 April 2011, restaurant tax receipts from this past April amounted to $54,197.

Downing contributed the increase to a couple of restaurants that paid delinquent back taxes.

*Upcoming events:

- Hillview City Fair, Hillview Government Center, June 7-10

- Bullitt County Fair, Bullitt County Fair Grounds, June 11-16

- Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce Golf Scramble, The Crossings Golf Club, June 22

*          The next regular meeting of the Shepherdsville/Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission will be held Tuesday, June 19 at the Paroquet Springs Conference Centre. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited.