Tourism cuts add up

August 17, 2013

Anthony Schoettle’s [July 29] article “Indiana tourism spending is fraction of nearby states’” shed light on an issue those of us in the tourism industry have been concerned with since the budget decreases began a few years ago.

State tourism agencies typically work to build awareness of what the state has to offer visitors. Most communities have visitors’ bureaus that focus on image and visitor attraction. The effectiveness of the 54 visitors bureaus throughout Indiana suffers when the state awareness-building layer is missing.

The attractions, hotels, restaurants and other businesses in those communities ultimately will suffer. A quarter-million Hoosiers are employed in tourism, whether it’s a lifeguard at Holiday World in Santa Claus or a hotel general manager in northern Indiana’s Amish country … and that’s 225,000 Hoosiers spending their paychecks in Indiana communities.

Reduce the number of tourism jobs and you also reduce the amount spent in local grocery stores, car dealerships, doctors’ offices and more.

Furthermore, you also hurt small businesses. Ninety percent of Indiana’s tourism industry is comprised of small businesses like Walnut Creek Golf Course in Marion and Patoka Lake Marina in Orange County.

And the ripple effect adds up to billions. In addition to the more than $10 billion in tourism dollars spent in the state annually, more than $1 billion is collected in state and local taxes.

Tourism professionals will continue to advocate for an increase in emphasis on tourism and the jobs it creates in our state.

Karen Niverson, director
Grant County Visitor Bureau; president, Indiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus

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