State Tourism Officials Recognize Potential Economic Impact

by Ark Encounter on July 27, 2011

The following was adapted from Ken Ham’s blog:

Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum are members of the local Chamber of Commerce. Ever since the museum opened four years ago, it’s been amazing to see so many businesspeople come up to our staff at Chamber meetings to congratulate us for bringing so many tourists and tourism dollars to the area (each Saturday, nearly 3,000 people visited the museum). And it’s always wonderful to hear from many of these businesspeople who are Christians and tell us how thankful they are that God is blessing the museum outreach.

At a recent Chamber of Commerce breakfast, three of our staff members heard a talk by the Commissioner of Tourism and Travel for the state of Kentucky—Mike Cooper. As Mike summarized the importance of tourism to the state, he not only highlighted the success of the Creation Museum as a big tourist draw, but he also said he looks to even bigger and better things through our next project, the Ark Encounter in Grant County, Kentucky.

During a question-and-answer time at the conclusion of Commissioner Cooper’s talk, someone asked if he could give an update on the progress of the Ark Encounter. Commissioner Cooper deferred to the Answers in Genesis staff in the audience, and so we had the opportunity to share that we hope to have groundbreaking in late summer and that things are progressing well as we work with Grant County officials (and the state of Kentucky in general).

Commissioner Cooper indicated that of the several northern Kentucky counties, Boone County—where the Creation Museum is located—saw tourism revenue last year of $1.2 billion, which was by far the highest figure for any of these counties. Of course, the Creation Museum doesn’t take credit for the majority of those dollars, as there is also a very good aquarium as well as other tourism attractions in the area. But the museum impact has been significant (to which local hotel and restaurant owners will attest).

Five years ago, some people thought the Creation Museum wouldn’t fly. In fact, one Chamber of Commerce member who attended the recent breakfast confided afterward with Mark Looy, our CCO, that he didn’t think many people would visit and that the museum would fizzle; but to his credit, this man admitted to Mark that he was wrong.

Today, some people are saying that the Ark Encounter won’t bring in the 1.6 million people per year that our feasibility study (through the respected America’s Research Group) has estimated. But the state commissioned its own study to gauge the possible number of visitors to the Ark Encounter (and we had to pay for this second, independent study), and Hunden Strategic Partners came up with a figure of 1.2 million visitors a year who would come from outside Kentucky. Now, when you take that 1.2 million out-of-state annual figure and add the many tens of thousands of people (or hundreds of thousands) who will come to the Ark from throughout Kentucky, the two separate studies are quite similar in their projections. Yet there are still some opponents of our ministry who dismiss these figures from two renowned research groups and say the Ark Encounter won’t see good attendance. Well, we’ve heard all that before—with the Creation Museum.

Here is a photo of Commissioner Cooper addressing the recent Chamber of Commerce breakfast in northern Kentucky.

Chamber of Commerce