Tourism organizations in two Indiana counties have released details of the industry's annual economic impact. Visit Morgan County says tourists spent a record amount in 2013 and Indiana Dunes Tourism is also reporting an increase in visitor spending. February 19, 2015

News Release

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – Recently released numbers from a study detailing the economic impact of tourism in Morgan County shows that visitor spending is an important, and growing, part of the local economy. Visitor spending in 2013 was the highest on record, at nearly $22 million, a 2 percent increase over the previous year's spending. That increase is significant in that it refers to tourism growth over 2012 numbers, which are widely recognized to be inflated throughout Central Indiana due spillover to neighboring counties from the influx of visitors in early 2012 for the Indianapolis-hosted Super Bowl. Visitor impact from the Super Bowl was significant, even as far as 2-3 hours away from Indianapolis.

Visitor spending habits can tell us a lot about what tourists do while they’re in Morgan County. The food and beverage sector accounts for the largest share of tourism spending, totally 41 percent of all visitor expenditures. Retail accounts for the next highest share of spending, coming in at 29 percent of expenditures, followed by transportation at 14 percent, lodging at 9 percent and recreation and entertainment at 7 percent.

This tells us that visitors are supporting locally-owned small businesses through dining and shopping while in the Morgan County area. It does not, however, mean that they are not also enjoying recreation and entertainment opportunities. In fact, since many recreational opportunities in Morgan County are free of charge, it is very difficult to track their usage.

It is very encouraging to note that though overall growth was at 2 percent, certain categories of spending grew at even larger rates. Notably, visitor spending on lodging grew by 3.6 percent, telling us that more visitors are staying overnight at area hotels. Spending in the recreation and entertainment category grew by 3.3 percent and retail spending grew by 2.8 percent.

The significance of increased visitor spending in the local economy is illustrated by the fact that 71 cents of every tourism dollar spent in Morgan County in 2013 stayed local, increasing the county’s economy. In addition, visitor spending supports a total of 442 local jobs in Morgan County, and generates a total of nearly $9 million in total wages and proprietor income for local business.

Visitors to Morgan County generated a total of $4.8 million in Federal, State and Local tax revenues in 2013, including $1 million in property taxes to support the local tax base. Without these tourism-generated property taxes, each household in Morgan County would need to pay an additional $110 per year in taxers to maintain current tax levels.

The study was done by Rockport Analytics, an independent market and economic research firm, utilizing data from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, Longwoods International and various government and private data sources using the IMPLAN model. The full study is available from Visit Morgan County. This is the second year that Morgan County has participated in the study, which is part of a research cooperative formed by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Tourism Tomorrow to align the state of Indiana, its counties and largest cities around common research methodologies and industry best practices.

Source: Visit Morgan County

February 19, 2015

News Release

PORTER, Ind. – A new study shows the tourism industry in Porter County is growing 5.5 percent annually and now contributes more than $386 million to the county’s economy each year.

The study, titled “Economic Impact of Porter County's Tourism and Travel Industry – 2011 and 2013, by Certec, Inc.,” shows that direct spending by tourists accounted for $271.2 million of the $386.6 million generated by the tourism industry.

In addition, the tourism industry generated $90.7 million in tax revenues and resulted in 4,962 jobs and more than $92.3 million in wages to Porter County workers. More than one third of the jobs were in high wage occupations, according to the study.

“Tourism is a large, growing business in Porter County,” Certec President Jim Carr wrote in the report.

“The study confirmed what we are seeing in our communities, and that is that Porter County's success as a tourist destination is growing and that visitors are helping businesses succeed,” said Lorelei Weimer, Indiana Dunes Tourism executive director.

“Three million people visit the Indiana Dunes each year, and our mission is to get them into the communities to spend money at attractions, restaurants, stores and hotels.”

Weimer said Indiana Dunes Tourism has had growing success reaching potential visitors via targeted advertising, social media, news features, the tourism website and tourism brochures.

In addition, communities are finding that the growing the number of local restaurants, events and attractions is attracting visitors and providing more recreational opportunities for residents.

Weimer said a previous Certec study showed that tourism was one of the few industries that grew during the recession, and now the most recent study showed that tourism is growing rapidly in an improving economy.

The most recent Certec study was completed late in 2014 and was released to the public at today's meeting of the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors.

Tourism contributed $311.5 million to Porter County’s economy in 2009; $348.3 million in 2011 and now $386.6 in 2013, according to Certec.

Source: Indiana Dunes Tourism

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