July 14, 1999 | By: Aimee D. Heald

The Kentucky bed and breakfast industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. In 1988, there were a mere 25 businesses and now, there are more than 300 attractive bed and breakfast homestays and inns.

By definition, a bed and breakfast provides a bedroom, bathroom and breakfast for a fee. Bed and breakfast enterprises are classified as either homestays or inns. In Kentucky, the health department says a homestay must be a private, owner-occupied house with up to five guestrooms. An inn can have up to nine rooms and the owner only needs to be on the premises if guests are present.

Many of the inns are in beautiful surroundings and in small, interesting communities. The businesses are very diverse with some being restored, historic cottages and others being more modern buildings. The operators strive to provide true Kentucky hospitality, as well as great food.

Recreation and Tourism Specialist for the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Allan Worms, said the bed and breakfast industry has grown from inns and cottages in parts of Europe and the coastal areas of the United States to a more global status in the past decade.

"They provide localized, home-style lodging in pastoral, historic, urban and even tourist attraction settings," Worms said. "In Kentucky, we have an especially fine array of quality homes and inns, operated by great cooks and people who understand what Kentucky hospitality is all about."

Bed and breakfast establishments benefit the Commonwealth's tourism industry by boosting the local economy in rural areas. They provide lodging in areas that might not have hotels or motels. Tourist traffic at local restaurants, stores and attractions increases around bed and breakfast inns. Also, bed and breakfasts provide overnight lodging in rural areas and allow restoration, adaptation and reuse of old buildings. They require low capital and low overhead expenses. Additionally, bed and breakfasts provide alternative or additional income for families and provide tax breaks for owners.

The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has helped the bed and breakfast industry grow by providing educational programs for people interested in learning how to start and operate an inn. Extension also helped organize a state- wide organization of owners. Extension research aids the industry in meeting clientele needs and also encourages the inflow of more tourists to the bed and breakfast operations.

For more information about this unique and enjoyable home-based business, contact your county Extension office, or call Patty Rai Smith, UK home-based business specialist, (606) 257-3888, or Allan Worms, UK recreation and tourism specialist, (606) 257-4646.


Writer: Aimee D. Heald (606) 257-9764 aheald@ca.uky.edu
Source: Allan J. Worms (606) 257-4646 aworms@ca.uky.edu