Shelby County Tourism Sees Record-Breaking $91 Million in Economic Impact in 2023

As the state of Kentucky sees record-breaking numbers in tourism, many of Kentucky’s counties are hitting a milestone with welcoming guests.

ShelbyKY Tourism broke a record in 2023 with travel and tourism bringing in $91.1 million in economic impact- the highest the county has ever seen.

Boosting The Local Economy

Data from ShelbyKY Tourism, the destination marketing organization for Shelbyville, Simpsonville, and Shelby County, shows visitor spending in 2023 increased by 13%, or $11 million, compared to 2022.

The tourism organization’s data was released in a report commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Tourism and collected by ShelbyKY Tourism’s research partner, Zartico.

Key data points include:

●       Tourism supported 541 full-time jobs last year, contributing more than $17 million in wages to the local economy.

●       Year-round lodging occupancy in ShelbyKY averaged nearly 70%, a 5% increase from 2022.

●       Out-of-state travelers outnumbered in-state travelers three to one in 2023.

●       Visitors from ShelbyKY’s six key feeder markets of Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Detroit, and Nashville accounted for nearly a quarter of all visitors to ShelbyKY, an increase of 11% from 2022.

●       For every $1 ShelbyKY Tourism invested in marketing, advertising, and public relations, visitors spent $328.91 in ShelbyKY’s restaurants, stores, accommodations, and attractions.

●       Residents are saved nearly $400 in annual property taxes due to state and local taxes generated by visitor spending.

“By every measurable metric, 2023 was a banner year for ShelbyKY. Tourism is a key pillar of the economy of ShelbyKY, and we’re thrilled that visitors love supporting our locally owned attractions, boutiques, stores, and restaurants,” said Janette Marson, President & CEO of ShelbyKY Tourism. “It’s wonderful to see sustained and robust growth in tourism’s economic impact in our community, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote ShelbyKY as the premier bourbon destination. We look forward to building on the great momentum of the tourism and hospitality industry in ShelbyKY, with two bourbon distilleries being built, locally owned restaurants in development, and a new hotel opening soon.”

Popular Attractions

The achievement of $91 million in visitor spending marks year-over-year growth, indicative of ShelbyKY’s growing appeal as a premier bourbon travel destination.

ShelbyKY is a destination with global appeal, boasting charming character alongside jaw-dropping horse farms, two celebrated distilleries, stunning places to stay, and delicious restaurants.

Popular attractions include Bulleit Distilling Co., Jeptha Creed Distillery, Gallrein Farms, Horsesensing, Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass and much more.

For more information about ShelbyKY Tourism, visit

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