This article was originally published in The News-Enterprise on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

The tourism and travel industry in Kentucky had an economic impact of more than $15 billion in 2017, according to a report from the Kentucky Department of Tourism.

In Hardin County, local tourism generated $245,753,375 in direct expenditures in 2017, according to a news release. Income derived from tourism in Hardin County increased by $16.8 million over 2016.

“The $245 million that visitors brought to our area last year underscores the value of what we do and the significant impact that tourism has on the local economy,” said Kelly Barron, executive director of the Radcliff-Fort Knox Convention & Tourism Commission.

All of the state’s tourism regions showed gains in 2017. Hardin County is part of the Bourbon, Horses and History region. In 2017, Hardin County ranked as the sixth highest income-producing county in the state, according to the release.

Sherry Murphy, executive director of the Elizabethtown Tour­ism and Convention Bureau, said in the release that 2017 was a great year for tourism in Hardin County.

“Not only did we welcome more travelers to the (Elizabeth­town) Sports Park than ever before, we saw more hospitality business developments happening in Eliza­bethtown,” she said. “We are very happy 2017 held a steady growth in the local hospitality industry and we look forward to continued growth and development for years to come.”

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