Powerboats Mean Millions For Michigan City

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Tourism officials say an annual northwest Indiana powerboat event pumped more than $7 million into the area economy. Visit Michigan City LaPorte says the Great Lakes Grand Prix, held earlier this month, drew more than 100,000 visitors. Aug. 15, 2013

News Release

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - For the fifth year in a row, the annual Great Lakes Grand Prix offshore powerboat race has pumped millions of dollars into the local economy, and exposed thousands of visitors to all Michigan City and LaPorte County have to offer.

Visit Michigan City LaPorte, the event's host since its inception in 2009, announced this week that the event put $7.2 million into the local economy and boasted near record crowds.

According to agency research and study, as well as economic impact studies from industry leaders, around 110,000 people enjoyed the annual August event.

Between 80,000 and 90,000 of those spectators watched the race from Washington Park and surrounding beach areas on Sunday, while more than 20,000 are estimated to have packed the beach and the downtown boat parade and Taste of Michigan City on Friday and Saturday.

The annual event has pumped nearly $30 million into the local economy through direct visitor spending. That includes everything from eating at local restaurants and shopping at local retail stores, to filling their vehicles with fuel.

The Great Lakes Grand Prix's impact on the community also reaches beyond direct spending, by providing jobs and a tax boost to the community and state, as well.

"The levels by which this event continues to grow each year is great to see, but with the way the people of our community and the visitors to the event treat the racers when they're here, and the show the racers put on for them, it's not surprising," said Jason Miller, sports development manager with Visit Michigan City LaPorte. "This has become something the community hangs its collective hat on and that’s one of the things we hoped to accomplish when we started this five years ago."

Jack Arnett, Visit Michigan City LaPorte Executive Director, said the 2013 version of one of the region's highest profile events was a record setter on many levels. One which he attributes to three things: "This year's race was huge for the community. Once again, there were people watching on the beach as far down as you could see on Sunday, and the park, downtown and Michigan City as a whole, was packed for three straight days," he said. "I think we can attribute that to good planning, good weather and great community support."

For more information on the event and its economic impact on the community, please contact Miller, at Jason@michigancitylaporte.com, Arnett, at jack@michigancitylaporte.com, or either by phone at 219.872.5055.

Source: Visit Michigan City LaPorte