Equestrian Games brought more than $US200m to Kentucky

June 28, 2011

The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games delivered a $US201.5 million boost to the Kentucky economy, a study has shown.


Alltech's Pearse Lyons
The event drew visitors from 63 countries, the report from the state's Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet reveals.

Governor Steve Beshear said the report illustrated the success of the event - the first time the World Equestrian Games has been held outside Europe.

"This report illustrates the positive result that our local and state governments, our sponsors, the many volunteers, the business community and the citizens of the Commonwealth working together can have," Beshear said.

It also underscored the important role of the Kentucky Horse Park and the legacy the games will have for future years, he said.

The report said the Games Foundation sold or provided complimentary tickets to 419,853 visitors. They came from 63 countries and all 50 states.

The assessed economic impact of the event took into account "direct" spending that accounted for $US128.2 million. This includes guest spending at the Horse Park, lodging, restaurants, shopping centres and retail outlets.

It also considered "indirect" spending - $US73.3 million - such as money spent for food and lodging suppliers, construction and other services that were needed to support the influx of guests.

The report found that $US55.4 million was spent on tickets, food, souvenirs and other items at the event, while $US39.6 million was spent on lodging.

The games also generated nearly $US18.4 million in state taxes and nearly $US4.6 million in local taxes, the report said.

Alltech founder Dr Pearse Lyons said: "While these financial impact numbers are quite impressive and stronger than even anticipated, the impact extends far beyond the monetary evaluation.

"For years to come, our community will reap the benefits of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, from a new sense of community pride to statewide improvements and infrastructures that continue to drive tourism today."

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said the profile lift provided to Lexington had been significant and the state had stepped in to help with road improvements, a much-improved gateway into the city and a new runway at the airport.

"The investment Gov. Beshear and the legislature made here at the Horse Park has already made this facility the best in the nation for equine-related events and organizations," he said. "The legacy and the economic impact of the Games have been remarkable."

In October 2010, passenger enplanements at Lexington's Blue Grass increased by 39 percent from the previous year, according to the airport's 2010 annual report.

The airport and its partners hosted more than 700 private and corporate airplanes, provided security for international dignitaries, welcomed more than 460 international athletes and facilitated 18 special event charter flights, said Eric Frankl, executive director at Blue Grass Airport.

"It was a privilege for the airport to serve as the gateway to central Kentucky for World Equestrian Games visitors," he said.

"The airport experienced one of its busiest months in airport history as a result of the collaborative effort put forth by our airlines, airport partners and staff to successfully handle an event of this magnitude."

The study was conducted for the cabinet by Certec Inc. of Versailles.

Information was supplied by the World Games 2010 Foundation, the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.