“Not a month next year is going to go by where we don’t have something significant happening in our city from a tourism perspective, whether that’s a large annual conference that’s coming back, or something new,” said Chris Gahl, executive vice president of Visit Indy.
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Groups as diverse as religious denominations, state lawmakers, humanities not-for-profits and others are now gearing up to make sure hundreds, even thousands, of members have productive and gratifying visits to Indianapolis over the next several months.
The submissions—which are forerunners to formal bids—detail the city’s interesting in hosting the NFL scouting combine from 2023 to 2027 and the the draft in either 2025 or 2027.
Visit Indy has seen an uptick in the popularity of its attraction pass this summer, after the tourism group added new locations, reduced the cost and added an option to bundle the pass with hotel rooms.
The league’s decision to invite other cities to bid to host its Scouting Combine didn’t come as a surprise to local leaders, and it gave them a head start on designing a bid that could keep the Combine in town beyond 2022.
Some local museums and cultural institutions say they saw a bump in visitation over the weekend related to March Madness. Meanwhile, the attractions are playing up their basketball connections in a bid to attract visitors.
Visit Indy plans to bring in a small group of “key decision-makers” from across the United States throughout the tournament, with the goal of letting major event executives safely see Indianapolis’ capabilities.
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Officials are hopeful new virus cases won’t ruin plans to host two dozen events in the first quarter of 2021—including efforts to bring the full NCAA men’s basketball tournament here.
The Sweets & Snacks Expo is expected to attract more than 13,000 attendees and generate an economic impact of $10.2 million.
Overall attendance at Indiana Convention Center events has stagnated, but annual major conventions have seen explosive growth.
Visit Indy said about $75,000 of the $1 million budgeted for the “You’ve Earned It” advertising campaign has so far been spent, generating about $400,000 in visitor spending.
Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said activity has dropped to as low as 5% of typical operations, with the the facility serving only 14 of its 53 destinations.
The tourism bureau’s 62 employees will see their work weeks cut to four days through at least April.
The race—rescheduled for Aug. 23—is on an otherwise open weekend in the city’s summer event calendar, which could fill hotel rooms at a time they would otherwise have been empty.
The governor also signed legislation that will eventually put more money into the state’s unemployment trust fund, a move that comes as the coronavirus outbreak has led to a jump in unemployment claims.
Officials say no events have been canceled locally, but groups—including the NCAA and Visit Indy—are watching the news and weighing their options.
Visit Indy, which isn’t involved in the Pan Am negotiations, is in “somewhat of a holding pattern until we have the exact details finalized and presented to us,” Vice President Chris Gahl said.
Visit Indy has held preliminary talks with the NFL about the city’s hosting the three-day event as soon as 2024.