New Tourism Director Has Plans For Growth

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Weisensteiner was appointed director of the IOTD in December 2018. Weisensteiner was appointed director of the IOTD in December 2018.

The new director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development says she hopes to create a strategic plan to continue the growth of tourism in the state. Misty Weisensteiner began her new role earlier this month after being appointed by Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch in December. The former executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Partnership says tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand and there needs to be a greater focus on that relationship.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Weisensteiner says she has many goals for her new position.

"One of the first things that we we want to do is we really want to get around throughout the state and talk to our stakeholders and our partners in the counties and the CVBs and really hear from them and then, from that, develop a strategic plan that we can work off of moving forward that will really provide assistance and help our local CVBs really elevate themselves and what they have going on," said Weisensteiner. "Also, (we want to) continue to increase the economic impact of tourism for the state as well."

Weisensteiner says local communities and the state can use the relationship between economic development and tourism as an opportunity to develop a better quality of place and therefore, attract a larger workforce. She says tourism can be, and is, more than just "leisure."

"Tourism brings in tons of business throughout the state and tourism also would plant the seed that maybe somebody would like to live here as well, so that's very critical," Weisensteiner said. "Let's not forget that we have $12.7 billion spent in visitor spending and 200,000 jobs too, so a lot of people depend on the tourism industry for their way of life and that's critical and something that we'll continue to grow."

A recently-released study commissioned by the IOTD showed total visitor spending in 2017 created $9 billion in economic impact for the state. Crouch earlier this month said the appointment of Weisensteiner will continue that growth.

Weisensteiner says she has many goals for her new position.
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