Thriving convention and tourism industry sparks visitor center makeover
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A downtown storefront that welcomes visitors to town is getting a makeover.
It is just part of the effort to enhance the visitor experience for tourists and conventioneers.
A three day renovation project got underway Monday morning at the Louisville Visitors Center in the heart of downtown Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Jefferson Streets.
"We average 65,000 people a year that come through the visitors center," says Susan Pass, the center's manager.
The center opened seven years ago at the site and was beginning to show a bit of wear and tear. So the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, which operates the center, is spending $90,000 for some renovation work.
"We feel the number of visitors will continue to increase," says Pass, "we will have new carpeting, some fresh paint, and some of the exhibits will be moved around some, and all of this will add to the enhancement of the visitor experience."
Louisville's convention and tourism industry is big business for the city. The most recent studies show that more than 12 million people visit Louisville annually, which results in an yearly economic impact of $1.4 billion supporting about 22,000 local jobs.
But the tourism and convention business remains very competitive among cities and getting the word out about Louisville's attractions and convention facilities remains a big challenge.
"I think people that hear of Louisville being a city of this size and they have no idea about the bustling downtown we have, the wonderful restaurant scene, and of course there is always bourbon," says Stacey Yates of the convention bureau.
With several hotels under construction downtown and plans in the works to renovate the Kentucky International Convention Center, Louisville is trying to keep up with competition from nearby cities like Nashville and Indianapolis.
"We've got 1,400 new hotel rooms in the pipeline, the convention center will be expanded, so we now have some talking points to keep up with the competition," adds Yates.
While the convention center renovation work hasn't started and won't likely be finished until 2017, the renovated visitors center will reopen on Thursday.