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State to reopen tourism, encourage in-state travel; make a state park reservation starting May 19

Gov. Andy Beshear announced today that as part of the Healthy at Work initiative the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will reopen tourism in an effort to generate revenue to boost the state’s economy and offer Kentuckians opportunities to explore the Commonwealth through in-state travel.

“The tourism industry has suffered significant loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Beshear. “As the state focuses on rebuilding the economy, reopening tourism plays a significant role in generating revenue, opening business doors and helping more Kentuckians get back to work.”

Go to www.parks.ky.gov

Revenue generated from tourism is critical as Kentucky focuses its efforts on rebuilding. Tourism is an $11 billion industry in Kentucky and provides employment to nearly 95,000 Kentuckians. The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in a loss of nearly $64 million in tourism tax revenue.

“The reopening of tourism will allow us to generate much-needed revenue for local businesses and communities experiencing economic loss as a result of COVID-19 restrictions,” said Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry. “Our phased approach to reopening will ensure we can protect the health and safety of Kentuckians while gradually rebuilding segments of the tourism industry.”

The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will open Kentucky State resort parks, recreational parks, lodges and cabins to the public for normal business hours beginning June 1. Park guests will be required to follow social distancing and public health guidelines. Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls State Resort Parks will also reopen on June 1.

Guests can begin making reservations beginning Tuesday, May 19. Reservations can be made online at parks.ky.gov.

As part of the state’s ongoing effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the following Kentucky State Parks were designated to provide temporary housing for low acuity patients. These parks will not reopen at this time:

• Barren River Lake State Resort Park is closed due to renovations;

• Lake Cumberland State Resort Park;

• Lake Barkley State Resort Park;

• Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park; and

• Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.

The Kentucky Horse Park, Otter Creek and state park campgrounds will open on June 11 to self-contained campers and RVs in accordance with the Healthy at Work camping guidelines. Fishing tournaments may resume on June 1 with new guidelines.
The Salato Wildlife Education Center will open with limited capacity beginning June 1. Interactive exhibits will remain closed until further notice.

Beginning May 22, groups of 10 people or fewer may gather and the state’s travel ban will expire. Announcements regarding the reopening of additional tourism attractions and venues operated by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will be forthcoming.

Featured photo is General Butler State Park

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