As the fastest growing job sector in Indiana, Culp notes that tourism packs a one-two punch for the business community: an initial financial impact generated by an event or attraction and gained exposure for the community in which those exist.
For reasons obvious to Hoosiers, tourism – and especially sports tourism – is particularly impactful during the month of May. Indiana’s various racing events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other racing venues in Central Indiana provide the state and its local officials the opportunity to showcase all the state has to offer.
“These big events are a good opportunity to get people from outside of Indiana into the state, and it’s a good opportunity for state and local officials to showcase all we have to offer,” Cook says.
Agritourism is another segment of Indiana’s economy seeing steady growth. Cook and Culp cite Fair Oaks Farms as a prime success story. Culp states, “This is a great example of how Indiana has approached tourism in the right way – by being pragmatic and playing on its natural strengths.”
With a huge influx of craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries, Cook says that this sector of agritourism extends beyond the physical destinations of the businesses themselves. “Yes, there are people that visit breweries every day, but in Indiana there are events throughout the year – such as Sun King’s CANvitational and Three Floyd’s Dark Lord Day – that have become great economic development engines for local economies.”
Catch (i) on Economic Development each month on insideindianabusiness.com, or get the show delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to the KSM Location Advisors blog at ksmlocationadvisors.com/blog.