Emboldened by more record numbers, Indianapolis convention and tourism planners continue to have an eye on the future and what it will take to remain competitive in an industry where size matters. While findings of a yet-to-be-released study commissioned by Visit Indy suggest an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center is not necessary, a major new downtown hotel is a different story. "On the hotel side, the study suggests we could easily handle another 800 rooms downtown connected to the convention center," said Visit Indy Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hoops. "So I think something like that is somewhere in our future." In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Hoops said a potential NBA All Star game in Indy in 2021 could impact timing.
Last week at its annual meeting, Visit Indy reported a fourth consecutive year of record numbers. According to data from Pennsylvania-based Rockport Analytics, Indy attracted 28.2 million visitors in 2015 who spent $4.9 billion.
The 2015 results continue an impressive streak for the city’s convention and tourism sector. Every year since Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl in 2012, the city has attracted more visitors spending more money.
Hoops says the impact of a strong visitor business extends well beyond downtown.
"A lot of people think because a lot of the assets of the convention business are downtown, that’s where the benefit happens," said Hoops. "In reality, 49 cents of every dollar a visitor spends winds up in wages and the people who work in those downtown assets live in Pike Township and Lawrence, Franklin and Avon and throughout the region."
According to Visit Indy, convention and tourism business in central Indiana generated $682 million in state and local taxes in 2015, supporting nearly 78,000 full-time-equivalent jobs.
See the full interview with Leonard Hoops: