IEDC president to lead state’s new tourism agency

Indiana Economic Development Corporation President Elaine Bedel is switching roles to lead the state’s newly created, quasi-governmental tourism agency.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday morning that Bedel would serve as secretary and CEO of the Indiana Destination Development Corporation.

Bedel

“Elaine will excel as Indiana’s first chief destination officer to bring our public and private sectors together to best tell Indiana’s story,” Holcomb said in a prepared statement. “In her new role, Elaine will work collaboratively to develop marketing strategies that will enhance economic development, attract new talent to our workforce and enhance our state’s profile as a great destination for visitors.”

State lawmakers passed legislation during the 2019 session that allowed the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, which is under Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and funded by the state budget, to become a quasi-governmental corporation as of July 1, 2020. The move will allow the new agency to raise private money in addition to receiving state dollars—similar to the way the IEDC currently operates.

The corporation will be governed by a seven-member board consisting of Crouch, the president of the IEDC or its designee and five members from the tourism industry who will be appointed by Holcomb.

Proponents of the idea have said it will improve the state’s ability to market and attract visitors.

A study released by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in December reported that visitors to Indiana increased from 78.9 million in 2016 to 79.9 million in 2017, and that visitor spending rose in that period from $12.2 billion to $12.7 billion.

Bedel will leave her role at the IEDC on Nov. 11 to begin planning for the new agency.

Holcomb appointed Bedel to serve as president of the IEDC in 2017. Prior to that, Bedel served as president, CEO and chief compliance officer for Bedel Financial Consulting Inc., which she founded in 1989.

Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger will assume Bedel’s responsibilities at the IEDC.

Office of Tourism Director Misty Weisensteiner will transition to the Indiana Destination Development Corp. and will report to Bedel.

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