Visitors to EKU Generate Approximately $41 Million for Local Economy

The 300,000-plus visitors who come to Richmond annually because of Eastern Kentucky University generate approximately $41 million for the local economy.

Lori Murphy-Tatum, executive director of Richmond Tourism, and Marc Whitt, associate vice president for public relations at EKU, cited the example of that impact during a joint presentation June 4 at the annual International Town and Gown Association (ITGA) Conference at Clemson University in South Carolina.

The numbers encompass a variety of revenue generators: sporting and arts events, conferences and workshops, commencement ceremonies each May and December, and annual University events such as Homecoming, Alumni Weekend and Family Weekend.

For example, in its first three seasons, the EKU Center for the Arts, the second largest performing arts venue in the Commonwealth, has averaged more than 50,000 visitors, many of whom come from outside Madison County and eat at local restaurants and/or buy gasoline while in the city.

In addition, almost 100,000 annually attend events coordinated by EKU Conferencing and Events.

“The City of Richmond is proud to be one of America’s finest college towns,” said Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes. “Our community and economy benefit in countless ways from Eastern Kentucky University, including our tourism industry. We often do not consider the economic impact EKU has on Richmond and Madison County’s tourism but, as it attracts more than 300,000 guests, that’s nothing less than significant. I have often said that when Eastern grows so does Richmond. Today’s announcement is one more measurable proof how Richmond and EKU depend on one another. We truly are partners for progress.”

EKU President Michael Benson said: “A vibrant local economy is driven by several key economic factors with tourism being among the leaders. We at Eastern Kentucky University are proud to contribute to Richmond and Madison County’s tourism industry by attracting more than 300,000 visitors to our community and campus during 2013-14. Much of this can be attributed to those attending our athletic events or performances at the EKU Center for the Arts, or workshops or conferences on campus.

“The good news,” Benson added, “is that we don’t see this slowing down as we look toward 2014-15. We anticipate a strong fourth season at the Center for the Arts with headline acts coming to the stage. EKU will also host the 2014 Kentucky Music Educators High School Marching Band Championship Saturday, Nov. 1, which will attract more than 20,000 high school musicians and their families and friends to Richmond. I deeply appreciate Mayor Barnes and Richmond Tourism’s Lori Murphy-Tatum for allowing EKU to be a vital part of the City’s tourism efforts and success.”

Both EKU and the City of Richmond are members of ITGA.

Published on June 04, 2014