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.
Several lawmakers, lobbyists and state officials are pushing for sweeping changes to the state’s tourism bureau.
The department says its ambition is for the state to become “a leading regional destination” and to increase traveler spending.
The state tourism department’s new tag line, “Honest to Goodness Indiana,” is so folksy that some wonder whether there’s a disconnect between what it says about the state and how the city of Indianapolis is trying to distinguish itself.
The new tourism slogan, which replaces “Restart your engines,” is the hook for a widescale state rebranding campaign.
The industry maintains nearly 140,000 jobs and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses, according to a new report.
As Indiana slashed its tourism budget, Michigan increased its widespread Pure Michigan ad campaign from $17 million to $27.4 million. Illinois, where budget problems have earned the state the nation’s worst credit rating—A3 by Moody’s Investors Service—spends more than twice as much as Michigan.
Destinations throughout Indiana no longer can count on a state marketing campaign to help drive summer crowds. Lawmakers who
passed a budget during the special session at the end of June sliced the state’s annual contribution
to the Indiana Office of Tourism Management in half—from $4.8 million to $2.4 million.