City to spend $1M in relief funds on tourism marketing campaign

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Mayor Joe Hogsett on Wednesday afternoon announced $1 million of the city’s federal coronavirus relief funds will go toward a marketing campaign encouraging Indiana residents to visit the capital city.

Called “You’ve Earned It,” the campaign seeks to boost Indianapolis’ tourism industry, which has been deeply hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns.

The ads will be aired on radio, TV and the internet and will invite central Indiana residents and residents from other major cities in the state to plan a trip to the capital city.

The campaign will begin July 6 and run through Sept. 7.

The city said about 83,000 residents are typically employed by the hospitality industry. Tourism and convention group Visit Indy estimated that more than 50 percent of those workers are now unemployed. It said city hotels are now seeing about 7% occupancy, down from an expected 70% occupancy rate.

Other businesses also are suffering, including restaurants and cultural venues which have seen reduced occupancy or remained closed.

The marketing campaign aims to send the message to every Hoosier that Indianapolis is open for business.

The city is pointing to statewide research that shows Hoosiers are ready for day trips withing driving distance, making the city a perfect destination. In a survey of more than 5,000 Indiana residents, 49% said they will take a trip this summer, 86% of them by car.

“Here’s my message to the people of our city: After a period of frustration, a period of mourning, a period of learning, we are coming back. Indianapolis is coming back,” Hogsett said.

Visit Indy President and CEO Leonard Hoops said Indiana residents can get up to 50% off hotels in the Circle City during the marketing campaign.

He said the marketing campaign will have a “massive impact.”

More information can be found at visitindy.com/indianapolis-you-have-earned-it.

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