Kentucky Department of Tourism is launching an updated web site, complete a new feature aimed at increasing the bottom line for the state’s hospitality industry.
www.KentuckyTourism.com now allows online users to reserve airline flights, hotel and motel accommodations and car rentals all at one location. The Kentucky Department of Tourism has partnered with Internet powerhouse Travelocity to offer a booking engine on the state’s tourism web site.
“It has been the goal of my administration to increase opportunities for the people of Kentucky and to increase the number of visitors to the Commonwealth,” said Governor Fletcher. “This Web site will attract interest from prospective visitors in Kentucky and will allow them to immediately book their vacation plans. This will result in more visitors and more business for the state’s hospitality industry.”
Kentucky’s tourism industry has increased a dramatic 16.1% in the past two years, adding some 5200 jobs to the state’s economy. Last year, tourism added $9.44 billion to the state’s economy, employed more than 176,000 Kentuckians who earned $3.3 billion in payroll income and contributed more than $952 million in federal, state and local taxes.
“Our new Web site is head and shoulders above the previous one,” said Commissioner of Tourism Randy Fiveash. “Travelocity is the most trusted name in the tourism field. And Kentucky is just the second state in the country to enter into a partnership with them to provide this type of booking engine. This new site is the first step toward our goal of making the Kentucky tourism site a one stop shopping experience for anyone looking to travel, dine, or enjoy attractions and experiences in Kentucky.”
The site was previewed several weeks ago to local tourism representatives from throughout Kentucky, and their input provided upgrades and revisions leading to today’s launch. Reaction has been positive.
“The new site is terrific because it allows prospective tourists to book their hotel rooms immediately,” said David Lord, President of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Once we get a person to visit the Kentucky Tourism Web site, having the option of booking immediately is a great way to ‘close the deal’ and ensure their visit.”
“A booking engine powered by Travelocity will make for a wonderful addition to the state’s web site,” added Vicki Fitch, Executive Director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are living in a society that has increasingly come to rely on computer technology for many different functions including travel planning. Anything we can do to make electronic planning and the state web site more user-friendly will benefit the industry. Travelocity was a good choice as a partner in this endeavor. The well-known company’s reputation as a quality travel search engine will add increased credibility to the new booking engine.”
The new Kentucky tourism Web site also boasts a contemporary new design and is more user-friendly. It features regional destination maps as well as links to Web sites of all destination communities, attractions, travel trade organizations and regional tourism groups throughout the state. These features make the Web site a “tourism portal” that showcases all Kentucky has to offer in the best possible way, said Fiveash.
The basic function of www.kentuckytourism.com is not changing: to provide travelers with information about what’s available to them in Kentucky. But the site’s capabilities have been improved with the addition of the booking engine and other features.
The partnership with Travelocity resulted from a Request for Proposals issued by the Department of Tourism. The new site will continue to evolve, with many other plans in the works including an option to provide an automated e-mail service to send travelers information about their particular interests in Kentucky places and activities, Fiveash said.