Elkhart leaders say tourism has increased thanks to the new "Exit 92" marketing campaign. The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission and Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau say hotel nights, rates and revenue all increased between April and September compared to the same period in 2015.
The campaign aims to attract the 65 million travelers estimated to use the Indiana Toll Road every year. Exit 92 is Elkhart’s Cassopolis St. exit on the highway.
ECCVB Executive Director Diana Lawson says the organization is "very pleased by the results of the first year of this campaign." She says the increase in visitors to Elkhart have helped local businesses bring in at least $1 million more in revenue in five months.
The bureau says, from April to September 2016:
Lodging properties sold 184,738 room nights, up nearly 3 percent compared to the same period in 2015
Lodging properties generated nearly $15.5 million in revenue, up more than 5.6 percent compared to the previous year
Lodging properties commanded an average rate of $83.66 per night, up nearly 2.8 percent compared to 2015
The $200,000 Exit 92 campaign includes billboards, brochures, signage and digital advertising. The organizations expect to continue the effort next year.