A conversation with VisitLex

We sat down to chat with VisitLex, the convention and visitors bureau of Lexington, to learn more about their plans for Lexington’s growing tourism industry.

a painting of a blue horse

People travel far and wide to get a taste of what the Bluegrass has to offer. | Photo courtesy of VisitLex, Jeff Rogers

Table of Contents

You may have noticed an uptick in out-of-state license plates over the past few weeks. That’s because it’s peak tourist season in Lexington.

Whether it’s bourbon, sports, or our unique culture (probably all three), one thing’s for certain — more folks are starting to take notice of just how special the Bluegrass is.

We sat down with Mary Quinn Ramer, President of VisitLex to learn more about our tourism industry.

a headshot

Mary has served as the President of VisitLex for the last seven years. | Photo courtesy of VisitLex


  • Quote: “We help drive economic development — we’re marketers, promoters + salespeople. We do this to help improve the quality of life for Lexingtonians.”
  • Need to know: VisitLex employees are not city employees.
  • Important: Local city taxes do not fund VisitLex.
  • Dive deeper: VisitLex is funded through the collection of transient room taxes, or taxes collected from short-term rentals — hotels, Airbnbs, and soon, campgrounds.

Lexington as a Brand

  • Quote: “We are working towards making Lexington a recognizable brand. We want to show visitors that we are a progressive, modern + inviting city.”
  • Consider: Lexington has two major defining features — a densely populated urban core with neoclassical architectural characteristics + a beautiful, easily-accessible rural landscape. Similar to old-world Europe.
  • Branding: “Big Lex,” the blue horse we all know and love, was created to reflect our city’s historical legacy moving into a modern future. And yes, it’s also Kentucky blue.
a portrait of a blue horse

“Big Lex” has become the mascot + symbol for our city. | Photo courtesy of VisitLex

Responsible Tourism

As the Bluegrass region continues to grow in popularity, VisitLex is working to create a tourism model that showcases our culture + drives economic developmentnot one that causes our city to lose its authenticity.

  • Quote: “We’ve seen several surrounding cities grow in such a way, that locals argue they’ve lost their heart and soul. I think that’s because they failed to engage their citizens in the conversation.”
  • Stay engaged: VisitLex wants to hear from you.
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