Shelbyville Tourism Adds $66 Million Plus to Local Economy

by Katie Fussenegger, CTP

Shelbyville, Simpsonville and Shelby County continue to draw visitors to its many attractions, restaurants, shops and lodgings. Last year, these visitors spent over $180,000 on any given day and generated $30,063 in combined state and local tax revenues. This is great news for Shelby County, where tourist spending in our community for 2016 increased 4.7 percent over 2015.

Jeptha Creed Distillery


To mark National Travel and Tourism Week, which kicked off on May 7, the 2016 Economic Impact of Kentucky Tourism Report was released by Gov. Matt Bevin and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Commissioner Kristen Branscum.

Statewide, the report shows that tourism had an economic impact that amounted to more than $14.5 billion – the strongest overall economic impact growth rate Kentucky’s tourism industry has experienced since 2005. All nine of the state’s tourism regions, including Bourbon, Horses & History of which Shelby County is a part, registered significant gains in 2016.

The annual survey also showed that tourism supported nearly 193,000 jobs in Kentucky in 2016 and generated more than $1.5 billion in tax revenue, with $195.1 million going directly to local communities.

I Do – A Bridal Boutique


Tourism activity in Shelby County for 2016 generated $66,672,928 in direct tourist spending and $104,809,843 in total tourist spending. It supported 1,071 jobs and produced $23,507,384 in worker income. It also created $1,411,542 in local tax revenue and $9,561,391 in state tax revenue. As a result of the taxes generated, each of Shelby County’s 15,888 households paid $691 less in local and state taxes.

Locally, recent tourism investments and new shops, restaurants and attractions include:

  • Downtown restaurants Chicken Champs and Old Stone Inn (reopening under new management)
  • I Do – A Bridal Boutique (which has also established a substantial network of local wedding-related services for brides)
  • Jeptha Creed Distillery
  • New Kentucky Backroad Tours
  • The transformation and reopening of historic downtown Shelbyville landmark Blue Gables as The Shoppes at Blue Gables.

The Shoppes at Blue Gables


In addition to giving tourists new reasons to visit, our community has been recognized as one of the “Best Towns to Raise a Family in Kentucky,” one of the “10 Best Places to Live in Kentucky,” one of the “10 Safest Places in Kentucky” and among the “Most Caring Places in the United States.” Shelby County has been noted for having one of the “10 Best Main Streets You Must Visit in Kentucky.”