Pulaski County's tourism numbers continued to grow last year

Tourism remains a top industry in Pulaski County, according to the latest economic impact figures.

Michelle Allen, who recently completed her first year as executive director for the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), presented her first economic impact report to Pulaski County Fiscal Court during Tuesday's regular meeting. For the 2018 calendar year, tourism brought a total of $119.15 million of directed spending in this community -- good enough to land in the Kentucky's Top 20 but a number the director said is probably even higher because the state's calculation formula didn't include marinas.

"We got this money from visitors coming into our area in one year," Allen said, adding she projects that number will grow next year because of the new downtown events hosted quarterly by the City of Somerset. "Because of the collaboration between the mayor, judge, SPEDA and everybody else bringing more opportunity to our community."

Allen noted that the Somerset-Pulaski CVB is totally funded through a three-percent transient tax on lodging rentals. That revenue is used by the CVB board of directors to market the area and support local events such as the Master Musicians Festival; Somernites Cruise; Mud, Mayhem & Fun Lake Cumberland Obstacle Challenge; and more.

"We get over four million visitors a year to Lake Cumberland," Allen said, "and we want to increase that number every year. It looks like we're doing that with our economic development numbers."

When compared to other counties in the Southern Shorelines region (also including Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, McCreary, Russell, Taylor and Wayne), Pulaski reported the largest increase in economic impact -- $1.46 million over 2017's total. Allen noted the county has consistently seen increases since 2014. Four of the counties did report decreases this past year.

"I'm not sure if that's just because of the new calculations for the numbers but we are trying to help those communities too," Allen said.

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