Shelbyville, KY (October 18, 2022) — The travel and tourism industry in Shelby County is quickly recovering from its pandemic lows. Economic impact reports released by the Kentucky Department of Tourism and the research company Tourism Economics show that visitors have returned to ShelbyKY (Shelbyville, Simpsonville, and Shelby County, Kentucky) as the most significant impacts of the pandemic fade. 

Key findings from the research:

  • The economic impact of tourism is greater in ShelbyKY than in 80% of Kentucky counties.

  • Visitors to ShelbyKY spent $73.4 million across all tourism sectors in 2021, a nearly 25% increase from 2020 and an impressive 56% increase from 2019. 

  • Shelby County’s visitor spending ranks in the top fifth of all Kentucky counties (24 out of 120).

  • Occupancy rates for ShelbyKY’s lodging options followed that trajectory, with an increase in  occupancy for both traditional hotels and vacation rentals, including Airbnbs and VRBOs.

  • Tourism supported more than 1,200 jobs in ShelbyKY, collectively earning wages of more than $15.5 million.

  • In addition, state and local tax collection totaled $5.5 million, and as a result, the 17,000 households in ShelbyKY pay $327 less in taxes each year.

“The economic impact of tourism can be felt in every aspect of our life. Because of visitor spending, we have a better quality of life here in Shelby County,” said ShelbyKY Tourism President & CEO Janette Marson. “Tourist spending creates jobs and helps attract new businesses and services we rely on. Tourists infuse new money into our local economy, which is spent many times over to bolster local businesses, restaurants, and attractions. Our job at ShelbyKY Tourism is to advertise and promote all of Shelby County as a vacation destination. We strive to bring in as many new visitors as possible to shop, dine, and stay in our beautiful community.”

“Tourism is economic development,” said Shelby County Judge-Executive Dan Ison. “Our horse farms and distilleries are world-class destinations — Jeptha Creed Distillery is the only mother/daughter owned and operated distillery in the state, and our innumerable horse farms, like West Meadow Farm and Kismet Farm, are the rival of all others.”

“Because of tourist spending in our community, the City of Simpsonville is able to keep property taxes low while increasing the quality of life for its residents,” said Simpsonville Mayor Cary Vowels. “Our visitors are thrilled with attractions like The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass and great shopping and dining destinations like Little Mount Lavender Company, The Lovely Fig Boutique, Brick+Mortar Boutique and Coffeehouse, and Cafe 7021 Vietnamese Bar and Grill.”

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-themed lodging, shopping and dining. ShelbyKY is perfectly positioned for ease of access to Kentucky’s two largest cities – Lexington and Louisville. Pair dining at classic favorites like Claudia Sanders Restaurant and new staples such as The Red Lion at Science Hill 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 #VisitShelbyKY and

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Media contact: Debra Locker Griffin – / 859.536.0282