The chief executive officer of the new Indiana Destination Development Corporation believes the organization and its expanding focus can play a key role in the state’s efforts to attract and retain talent and investment. The Indiana General Assembly created the IDDC as a replacement for the former Indiana Office of Tourism Development, which had suffered from years of limited funding. While increasing traffic and economic impact at Hoosier tourism and hospitality destinations remain a focus, the IDDC is also zeroing in on one of the state’s biggest challenges.
“If we tell the Indiana story…the one that we know, if we tell that story right, we are going to help raise all boats, we’re going to help businesses want to locate here, we’re going to have talent that wants to move here,” said Bedel, who will lead the group after serving as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
Bedel talked about the goals of the public-private corporation, including its role in COVID-19 initiatives, on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
The IDDC was created during the 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly through a bill authored by Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo). “Because really, tourism is an industry and it’s an important part of our economic development in Indiana and we’re really underutilizing it,” said Karickhoff, in an interview with Inside INdiana Business shortly after the bill’s passage. “We’re not using it. We’re not capturing as much of those tourism dollars as perhaps we should. I think private business is hesitant to pay money into a state agency without a seat at the table.”
Supporters says the IDDC’s structure as a public-private sector entity, similar to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, is important as it allows the agency to leverage private dollars and operate “at the speed of business.”
Tourism officials say in 2019 Indiana welcomed 8.1 million visitors who spent an estimated $13.2 billion, both records.
Late last year, it was announced the IDDC’s role would expand beyond tourism and hospitality to include “telling the Indiana story” in an effort to boost the state’s talent pipeline.