Visit Indy says the city brought in a record 28.8 million visitors in 2017, resulting in a $5.4 billion economic impact. The organization is touting "major wins" in 2018 as well, including booking Routes Americas 2020, a major conference attracting airline route decision makers, and landing the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2026, which is expected to bring an economic impact of $70 million. Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications Chris Gahl says the city is pacing for another record tourism year in 2019.
Visit Indy Wednesday released impact numbers through research conducted by Rockport Analytics. The report suggests the tourism industry supported a record 81,600 full-time-equivalent jobs in central Indiana in 2017 and generated about $725 million in state and local taxes. Visit Indy says the region has recorded record annual visitor spending every year since 2011.
The city’s official destination marketing organization also released some convention year and leisure tourism results for 2018. It says the city booked more than 896,000 future group room-nights for conventions, trade shows, meeting and events that will occur as far out as 2026, with an estimated worth topping $800 million in future visitor spending.
Visit Indy says the future is looking good as well, thanks in part to a $120 million proposal to expand the Indiana Convention Center and build two hotels at Pan Am Plaza in downtown Indianapolis.
At an event Wednesday, the organization also honored former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning with the bill McGowan Leadership Award, which is the state’s highest tourism award. Visit Indy says Manning helped raise the profile of the city and Lucas Oil Stadium.
During an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Gahl talked about what needs to happen for tourism growth to continue.