Visitor spending reaches $80 million in 2022

Shelbyville, KY (August 14, 2023) — ShelbyKY Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Shelbyville, Simpsonville, and Shelby County, Kentucky, has released several key metrics analyzing the economic impact of visitors to the county. Visitor spending in Shelby County has broken the previous records for economic impact for the fourth consecutive year. 

The suburb of Louisville with a population of 50,000 has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors, visitor spending, and hotel and vacation rental occupancy. Using data collected by the research platform Zartico and the Kentucky Department of Tourism, ShelbyKY Tourism is pleased to share the following.

Key findings of the data include:

  • Visitor spending increased by more than seven million dollars in 2022, adding up to a staggering $80.45 million, the highest amount of visitor spending ever recorded in Shelby County.

  • Visitor spending in Shelby County was in the top 25% of all Kentucky counties in 2022.

  • More than 1,300 tourism-supported jobs, like retail and hospitality workers, earned wages of $16.68 million, an increase of $1.1 million over 2021 wages.

  • State and local tax collections totaled $6.1 million in 2022, and as a result, the more than 17,000 households in Shelby County pay $350 less in taxes each year than in a county without tourism.

  • During calendar year 2022, for every $1 that ShelbyKY Tourism invested in marketing and advertising, visitors to Shelby County spent $340 in the community at locally owned shops, restaurants, and businesses. 

In 2022, ShelbyKY Tourism introduced its new focus on attracting visitors traveling to distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. Since refocusing its efforts on attracting visitors to the bourbon-centric attractions and lodging, ShelbyKY Tourism has seen a definitive increase in every data marker it tracks, including occupancy, average hotel and vacation rental daily rate, and its advertising return on investment. 

Shelby County, with its proximity to Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati, features a number of attractions for visitors, including two distilleries, dozens of horse farms, upscale and luxury places to stay, and one of the state’s only horseback riding experiences. The diverse range of experiences and amenities available within Shelby County is, in part, why it has experienced unparalleled growth in the economic impact of tourism. The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, a key part of the visitor experience in ShelbyKY, welcomed more than 4 million guests alone, and when combined with the record-breaking number of visitors to Jeptha Creed Distillery and Bulleit Distilling Co., the tourism industry has put the lagging days of pandemic shut downs behind it. 

“Visitors are vital to every community, including Shelby County,” said ShelbyKY Tourism President & CEO Janette Marson. “Visitor spending creates jobs and helps attract new businesses and services we rely on. Visitors infuse new money into our local economy, which is spent many times over to bolster local businesses, restaurants, and attractions. We promote all of Shelby County to travelers as a premier place to shop, dine, and stay in the United States.”


About ShelbyKY — ShelbyKY (Shelbyville, Simpsonville and Shelby County) is Your Bourbon Destination. Home to two distilleries — Bulleit Distillery and Jeptha Creed Distillery — and located on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, ShelbyKY offers an array of bourbon-centric lodging, shopping and dining. ShelbyKY is perfectly positioned for easy access to Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky. Pair dining at classic favorites like Claudia Sanders Restaurant and local staple Bell House Restaurant with Kentucky’s only designer outlet mall, and there’s much to see, do, and taste in ShelbyKY. Home to 90-plus Saddlebred horse farms, ShelbyKY offers a rare peek into the world of the Saddlebred show horse and is known as the Saddlebred Horse Capital of the World. Outdoor adventures await those who enjoy fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and golf. We invite you to follow @visit_shelbyky on Instagram and @visitshelbyky on Facebook and learn more about ShelbyKY at 

Media contact: Debra Locker — | (859) 536-0282