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Here's why Louisville is winning acclaim as a thriving tourist destination

Louisville is experiencing the most explosive tourism infrastructure growth in decades as the city’s warmth, spirit and unique brand of “southerness” has made us one of the most authentic and attractive destinations in the country.

Our city keeps upping the ante each year, scooping up significant travel and convention industry accolades. In the first two months of 2019, Louisville has been recognized nearly two dozen times by various publications and lists including “9 Awesome One-Week Vacation Destinations You Need to Visit” by Expedia and two coveted listings by TripAdvisor as one of the “Top 20 Places to Visit in the U.S. in 2019” and “7 Rising U.S. Cities that Should Be on Your 2019 Travel Bucket List,” positioning us very well for this year’s peak travel season.

Louisville Tourism is among the city’s advocates pushing the boundaries to get these distinctions, but it takes a much larger team to support 16.4 million annual visitors — the combined population of Michigan and Indiana — that come from around the globe to attend a meeting, soak in a festival, special event or tip their glass on The Urban Bourbon Trail. 

This team is Louisville’s hospitality and tourism industry. One in every 24 local workers has a job directly supported by visitor spending equating to more than 27,500 jobs in Jefferson County alone. This makes it Louisville’s third largest industry with visitors bringing in $3.4 billion in economic impact. In addition to creating jobs and driving a huge impact, these visitors save Kentuckians $1,167 in tax dollars per family annually.

Jobs in the tourism industry come in the form of hotel employees, transportation drivers, tour companies, attractions and event facilities, restaurant and bar servers and valet attendants, among others. Louisville would not be winning acclaim as a thriving destination without this team, and we are appreciative to have the finest hospitality partners in the country.

In a regional collaboration with the Southern Indiana Convention and Tourism Bureau, Louisville Tourism continues to invest and be involved in the nationally recognized Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Network.

This program, locally called the Louisville Tourism Ambassador Program, trains applicants using Louisville-specific curriculum covering local history and prominent figures as well as attractions, neighborhoods and other visitor-specific information to become certified ambassadors. The goal is to create consistently knowledgeable and positive interactions with every visitor to the city, thus encouraging repeat business, increasing new visitors and boosting visitor spending.  

Louisville Tourism continues to be boots on the ground, working with the entire hospitality industry striving to live up to coveted recognition like Travel + Leisure’s designation of “America’s Friendliest Cities” and “America’s Favorite Cities Overall.” We are not resting on these and have aggressive plans for the future.

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