- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky officials say the state’s tourism industry had a strong performance in 2015.

State Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Don Parkinson said Wednesday the tourism sector had a $13.7 billion economic impact last year, up 5 percent from the prior year.

He says the industry supported more than 186,000 jobs, including 6,200 created in 2015.

Parkinson says Kentucky tourism generated more than $1.43 billion in taxes, with $184.9 million going directly to local communities. He says those are the state’s strongest overall numbers in the past 10 years.

The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism says it’s planning a marketing and programming effort aimed at reaching new audiences. It says it plans to build on the six pillars of Kentucky tourism - horses, bourbon, music, arts, outdoors and culinary.

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