Indiana tourism officials are betting big on efforts to bring more visitors to the state, in part through a campaign that they hope will set the stage for a massive increase in funding from the General Assembly next year.
Destination Development Corporation in Indiana. On June 8, the rollout of the $5.6 million “In Indiana” campaign began, marking the state’s first large-scale tourism initiative since the pandemic began in early 2020.
The campaign is intended to be the state’s response to successful tourism marketing efforts in neighboring states such as Clean Michigan and Find It Here in Ohio, both of which have been around for several years. But these states spend tens of millions of dollars annually on tourism, while Indiana traditionally spends between $3 million and $5 million a year.
Elaine Bedel, CEO of Indiana Destination Development Corp., said the quasi-government agency is relying heavily on IN Indiana’s campaign to be successful enough to justify a planned $35 million to $40 million annual budget request from the General Assembly next year. when he meets to write the biennial state budget.
This budget rivals the tourism spending of most nearby states, with the exception of Illinois, which allocates $70 million a year for tourism development. Wisconsin is the lowest-funded state in the Midwest after Indiana, at $17 million a year.
“I hope we can achieve something comparable to what other states around us are doing,” Bedel said. “So we can take our message to the regional level and then take it to the national level. If we don’t, we’ll be sitting here for another 10 years and still wondering why we don’t have a better perception and more visitors.
To get started, Indiana Destination Development Corp. This summer, “In Indiana” promotions will launch across the state, as well as in three major Midwestern metropolitan areas—Chicago, Louisville, and St. Louis—through print, digital, television, and radio advertising.
Bedel said the agency wanted to advertise in additional markets, but he just didn’t have the money.
The $5.6 million that will be used for the campaign did not come from the state budget, but from a grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration aimed at reviving the post-COVID tourism industry.
“We can’t run a big campaign and connect with everyone we want… unless we have more people to do it,” she said.
Destination Development Corporation in Indiana. was created in 2019 to replace the Indiana Tourism Development Authority, which had been operating on a relatively small budget for decades. The new quasi-public corporation was modeled after the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the government’s economic development and job creation agency, which can raise private money to supplement some of its efforts.
But the Legislature doesn’t…