LEXINGTON, KY (FOX19) - The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held in 2010 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington had an economic impact of $201.5 million in Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear announced Monday.
"The World Equestrian Games were indeed a success and 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." Gov. Beshear said. "It also underscores the important role of the Kentucky Horse Park and the legacy the games will have for future years."
The Alltech World Equestrian Games were held Sept. 25 through Oct. 10, 2010, the first time the international event had been held outside of Europe. The games are composed of eight events – dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, para dressage, reining and vaulting.
According to the report commissioned by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Alltech World Equestrian Games Foundation reported that it sold or provided complimentary tickets to 419,853 visitors. They came from 63 countries and all 50 states.
The economic impact took into account "direct" spending that accounted for $128.2 million. This includes guest spending at the Horse Park, lodging, restaurants, shopping centers and retail outlets.
It also considered "indirect" spending – $73.3 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 $55.4 million was spent on tickets, food, souvenirs and other items at the event while $39.6 million was spent on lodging. The games also generated nearly $18.4 million in state taxes and nearly $4.6 million in local taxes, the report said.
The study was conducted for the cabinet by Certec Inc. of Versailles. Information for the study was supplied by the World Games 2010 Foundation Inc., the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. An online version of the report is available at http://www.kentuckytourism.com/industry/research.aspx.
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games had a direct impact on passenger travel at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. In October 2010, passenger enplanements 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."