- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky officials say the state’s tourism industry has reported its strongest economic growth rate in more than a decade.

The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said on Monday that tourism had a $14.5 billon impact on Kentucky in 2016, up more than 5 percent from the previous year. Officials say it’s the strongest overall economic impact growth rate since 2005, with each of the state’s nine tourism regions showing increases.

Tourism generated more than $1.5 billion in taxes and supported nearly 193,000 jobs last year, up by about 7,000 from the previous year.

Commissioner Kristen Branscum said the report shows that tourism is “a vital economic driver” for the state.

Officials say they will continue to build on Kentucky’s signature tourism industries of horses, bourbon, music, arts, outdoors and culinary to attract visitors.

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