The Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourist Commission is the official destination marketing organization for Harrodsburg and Mercer County. Since 1979, the HMCTC's primary goal has been to enhance the city and county's economy through tourism development--to promote and sell the community as a destination for leisure, group and business travel.
The tourist commission, also known as a CVB (convention & visitor bureau), is a not-for-profit organization (a quasi-governmental entity) governed by Kentucky Revised Statutes supported by a transient room tax and a restaurant tax. During the 1970s, the Kentucky General Assembly acknowledged tourism is a powerful economic force and supports thousands of jobs for Kentuckians. The legislature voted two bills into law to support local tourism efforts by providing these dedicated revenue streams. The HMCTC is governed by a 7-member appointed board of directors (3 lodging, 1 restaurant, 1 city, 1 county, 1 chamber) as mandated by KRS.
Harrodsburg offers more authentic historical experiences than any other destination in the state. An extensive marketing plan promotes The Coolest Place in History and stakes a claim as the best place to experience history and heritage in a way that isn’t limited to viewing static museum displays, reading dusty pages in a book or wondering how ancient artifacts worked long ago. In Harrodsburg, history is dynamic and alive, and the past and present co-exist to offer a truly authentic experience to visitors. While heritage travel is the most sizable niche, the Commission also entices travelers to experience firsthand the range of tourism opportunities available.
A variety of activities and promotional efforts are carried out by the Commission in order to stimulate the tourism market on a local, regional, state and national level. HMCTC interfaces with the tourism industry through professional affiliations, consumer travel shows, group motorcoach marketplaces, direct mail, internet and personal contact.
In 2015, tourism brought 24.6 million visitors to Kentucky, resulting in: $8.7 billion in direct expenditures; $1.43 billion+ in tax revenue; 186,204 tourism-related jobs; $3.1 billion in tourism-related wages. Tourism is the 3rd largest generator of revenue directly behind the automobile and healthcare industries. For every $1 Kentucky spends on advertising, travelers spend $151.
Tourism statistics, released in May of 2016 by the Kentucky Department of Travel, indicated that expenditures in Mercer County increased by 7.5% over 2014 and added $46.7 million to the local economy. In Kentucky's Bluegrass Region, which includes Mercer County, the expenditures for 2015 were $3 billion+.
On an Average Day in 2015, visitors to Mercer County:
• Generated $13,413 daily in combined state & local tax revenues
• Created $1,725 daily in local tax revenues
• Created $11,688 daily in state tax revenues
• Generated $28,735 daily in worker paychecks
2015 Tourism Tax Relief on Households
• As a result of taxes generated by tourist spending in Mercer County.
• In 2015, each of the 8,770 Mercer County households paid $558 less in local and state taxes. In other words, if tourism did not exist, each household would have paid $558 more in state and local taxes in 2015 to replace the taxes generated by tourist spending.
When tourism thrives, so does Harrodsburg/Mercer County and the state of Kentucky!