Buoyed by record numbers and increased interest, state tourism officials are optimistic the industry is positioned for growth. For years, neighboring states have vastly outspent Indiana when it comes to tourism development, but that might be changing. Indiana Office of Tourism Development Executive Director Mark Newman says a recently-completed road rally, which covered 500 miles and 10 stops, will put Hoosier tourism in the spotlight with a nine-page spread in Midwest Living magazine. In 2015, a study pegged visitor spending in Indiana at $11.5 billion, and Newman believes there is significant room for statewide growth.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Newman said a move by the Indiana General Assembly to form a two-year tourism study committee is important.
In 2015, an economic impact report issued by the state showed tourism was the fastest growing sector in the Indiana economy, contributing $8.7 to the state’s Gross Domestic Product, supporting more than 200,000 jobs.
The report, commissioned by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and conducted by independent market research and consulting firm Rockport Analytics also found:
- Visitors to Indiana’s destinations increased by 4.3 percent to a record 77 million.
- Total tourism spending reached a record $11.5 billion, an increase of more than $900 million.
- State and local tourism-initiated taxes reached $1.3 billion.
Newman hopes to leverage those strong numbers and tourism momentum in a summer ad campaign that will target Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis and Indianapolis. "Each of those markets will be getting some special attention so we can drive people to great Indiana destinations," said Newman.
Watch the full interview on Inside INdiana Business Television: