Convention business still struggling, millions in losses
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Members of the Interim Joint Committee on Tourism, Small Business, and Information Technology met Thursday to discuss First Frontier Appalachian Trails and Lexington Center expansion and the continued recovery of convention business in the commonwealth.
The presenters from First Frontier Appalachian Trails shared plans to create a major adventure tourist destination by connecting 19 Eastern Kentucky counties by all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails. The proposed trails are patterned after the Hatfield-McCoy trail systems in West Virginia.
Representative Chris Fugate of Chavies shared, “The planned ATV trails will have a huge economic impact on our region. First Frontier Appalachian Trails already has approximately 350 miles of trail mapped out for this project. That converts into overnight stays, eating out, and shopping.”
According to testimony, more than 90,000 people visited a similar trail system in West Virginia. Those drivers led to the purchase of $3.9 million in ATV permits and a total of $35 million in direct economic impact to the state.
The committee also heard from the Central Bank Center and VisitLEX. Presenters shared that Lexington hotels lost $153 million in hotel room revenue from March 2020 through October 2021. Bringing the overall economic impact loss to Lexington from the meetings and convention attendees is now over $42 million.
House Co-Chair of Tourism, Small Business, and Information Technology, Representative Kim King said, “The hospitality industry is in recovery mode trying to hold meetings and conventions. Tourism plays a vital role in boosting the revenue of the economy and creating countless jobs throughout the Commonwealth.”
To watch the meeting, visit the Legislative Research Commission YouTube page here.