The biggest conventions coming to Louisville in 2023, and tourism’s outlook for the year

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The biggest conventions coming to Louisville in 2023, and tourism’s outlook for the year

The theme Louisville Tourism is focused on when it looks to the rest of 2023 is growth, not recovery, after three years of travel-related economic activity hampered at various levels by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Louisville Business First. “I think our mix is really back to normal,” said Zack Davis, destination services vice president for Louisville Tourism, in a recent interview. “And what I mean by mix is we have a good amount of conventions, trade shows, sporting events, festivals. … Some of our top groups are forecasted to not only reach, but exceed pre-pandemic numbers in 2023.“While Louisville’s tourism economy has not wholly returned to 2019 levels, we anticipate solid performances from all of our top events. Louisville is fortunate, and somewhat unique in our competitive set, that 10 of our top events each year call our city home on an annual basis.” In honor of Louisville’s namesake, French King Louis XVI, Louisville Tourism has put together the top 16 events projected — at the time of this article — to have the largest estimated economic impact (EEI) for the Louisville area this year. Events are listed with estimated attendance and EEI:Kentucky Derby — 250,000 attendance; $360.1 million EEIMid-America Trucking Show — 59,000; $28.5 millionNational Farm Machinery Show and Championship Tractor Pull — 255,000; $23.1 millionTFN Camps & Clinics “Run for Roses” — 50,000; $21.7 millionEquip Exposition — 25,000; $21 millionJunior Volleyball Association World Challenge — 40,000; $18 millionNCAA Division I men’s basketball regional — 22,000; $15 millionThe Utility Expo — 20,000; $15 millionDanny Wimmer Presents, Louder Than Life — 160,000; $14.5 millionNorth American International Livestock Exposition — 200,000; $14 millionKIVA Sports/Ohio Valley Volleyball Center Adidas Bluegrass Tournament — 40,000; $12 millionNational Beta Club National Convention — 13,000; $11.1 millionDanny Wimmer Presents, Bourbon & Beyond — 160,000; $11.1 million54th NRSA Street Rod Nationals — 30,000; $10.8 millionKentucky Derby Festival’s Thunder Over Louisville — 450,000; $9.3 millionKentucky State Fair — 590,000; $8.8 millionMost of these huge events take place at Kentucky Venues properties — the Kentucky Exposition Center off Interstates 65 and 264 near Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport or the Downtown Kentucky International Convention Center. Last year, those two properties hosted 330-plus events, drawing more than 2.3 million visitors with an EEI of $316.4 million. “We hope that people of color respond to that we’ve developed some programming around that are unique and authentic to our city in terms of the culture that African Americans have provided. And those just so happen to be in our brand pillars — bourbon, equestrian, culinary,” said Stacey Yates, Louisville Tourism chief marketing officer, in an interview.She noted the legacy of Black jockeys at Churchill Downs or the still-new Roots 101 African American Museum Downtown, voted by USA Today readers last year as one of the country’s top new attractions.For more on Louisville tourism’s push for more events and for information on events in nearby southern Indiana and Shelbyville, you can read Louisville Business First’s entire article here.

The theme Louisville Tourism is focused on when it looks to the rest of 2023 is growth, not recovery, after three years of travel-related economic activity hampered at various levels by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Louisville Business First.

“I think our mix is really back to normal,” said Zack Davis, destination services vice president for Louisville Tourism, in a recent interview. “And what I mean by mix is we have a good amount of conventions, trade shows, sporting events, festivals. … Some of our top groups are forecasted to not only reach, but exceed pre-pandemic numbers in 2023.

“While Louisville’s tourism economy has not wholly returned to 2019 levels, we anticipate solid performances from all of our top events. Louisville is fortunate, and somewhat unique in our competitive set, that 10 of our top events each year call our city home on an annual basis.”

In honor of Louisville’s namesake, French King Louis XVI, Louisville Tourism has put together the top 16 events projected — at the time of this article — to have the largest estimated economic impact (EEI) for the Louisville area this year. Events are listed with estimated attendance and EEI:

  1. Kentucky Derby — 250,000 attendance; $360.1 million EEI
  2. Mid-America Trucking Show — 59,000; $28.5 million
  3. National Farm Machinery Show and Championship Tractor Pull — 255,000; $23.1 million
  4. TFN Camps & Clinics “Run for Roses” — 50,000; $21.7 million
  5. Equip Exposition — 25,000; $21 million
  6. Junior Volleyball Association World Challenge — 40,000; $18 million
  7. NCAA Division I men’s basketball regional — 22,000; $15 million
  8. The Utility Expo — 20,000; $15 million
  9. Danny Wimmer Presents, Louder Than Life — 160,000; $14.5 million
  10. North American International Livestock Exposition — 200,000; $14 million
  11. KIVA Sports/Ohio Valley Volleyball Center Adidas Bluegrass Tournament — 40,000; $12 million
  12. National Beta Club National Convention — 13,000; $11.1 million
  13. Danny Wimmer Presents, Bourbon & Beyond — 160,000; $11.1 million
  14. 54th NRSA Street Rod Nationals — 30,000; $10.8 million
  15. Kentucky Derby Festival’s Thunder Over Louisville — 450,000; $9.3 million
  16. Kentucky State Fair — 590,000; $8.8 million

Most of these huge events take place at Kentucky Venues properties — the Kentucky Exposition Center off Interstates 65 and 264 near Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport or the Downtown Kentucky International Convention Center. Last year, those two properties hosted 330-plus events, drawing more than 2.3 million visitors with an EEI of $316.4 million.

“We hope that people of color respond to [these marketing efforts] that we’ve developed some programming around that are unique and authentic to our city in terms of the culture that African Americans have provided. And those just so happen to be in our brand pillars — bourbon, equestrian, culinary,” said Stacey Yates, Louisville Tourism chief marketing officer, in an interview.

She noted the legacy of Black jockeys at Churchill Downs or the still-new Roots 101 African American Museum Downtown, voted by USA Today readers last year as one of the country’s top new attractions.

For more on Louisville tourism’s push for more events and for information on events in nearby southern Indiana and Shelbyville, you can read Louisville Business First’s entire article here.

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