Today, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway looked different. than a week and a half ago when over 325,000 people gathered to watch the Indianapolis 500.
Instead of screaming, screaming, and a roaring engine, a much smaller group of locals gathered at the state press conference to announce their new “In Indiana” tourism marketing campaign at one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations.
“This is an exciting time for the state of Indiana,” said Elaine Bedel, Indiana Destination Development Corporation. Secretary and CEO. “This is not a slogan. It’s a very different kind of advertising campaign where we need everyone to be a part of it.”
Summer trip for Hoosiers:Here are the national parks within driving distance of Indiana
The state applied for a federal grant in August and received approval in April for $5.5 million to generate resources for the campaign. The Department of Commerce is issuing grants to states to boost tourism in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
IDDC and Visit Indiana created marketing tools and materials and encourage schools, businesses, cities, and Hoosiers across the state to download and distribute them.
The materials include the main campaign identifier, a graphic that reads “In Indiana” along with various titles combined with IN Indiana, some of which read “Explore the State Parks” and “Life is Better”. Individuals can also create their own titles.
Hoosiers must register by email to access the materials.
“Research has shown that people have no idea about Indiana,” said Amy Howell, director of tourism, marketing and communications for IDDC. To address this problem, Howell says the state’s strategy is two-part: boost Hoosier’s pride in the state and boost Indiana’s perception outside the state.
The story continues below the gallery.
Prior to the pandemic, the tourism industry was an important part of the state’s economy. In 2019, Indiana experienced a historically high level of tourism, growing for the ninth year in a row. Visitors to the state increased by 2.1% to 82.7 million trips, according to a study by Rockport Analytics. Visitor spending in Indiana contributed $9.6 billion to the economy’s gross domestic product, up 3.5% from 2018.
In 2020, the pandemic disrupted upward trends in the state’s tourism industry. Visitor numbers in the state were down 19% to a total of 66.7 million person trips, according to Rockport Analytics. Visitor spending was down $3.5 billion, pushing the state’s GDP up $6.9 billion, down 28% from the previous year. Nationally, the US Department of Commerce reports that 56% of the country’s 2020 GDP decline was due to a decline in travel and tourism to and within the US.
Now the goal is for tourism in the state to improve every year, with a focus on bringing in people from the border states, Howell…