The Indiana Office of Tourism Development has announced that tourism numbers in the Hoosier State skyrocketed in 2016. In 2016, a record 79 million tourists visited the state, spending over $12 billion. 48 million visitors came to the state for the day, but 31 million additional tourists elected to spend the night inside Indiana’s borders. According to the report, the majority of tourism dollars spent in Indiana last year went towards food and beverages, while $2.7 billion was spent in Indiana stores.
The Office of Tourism Development also released figures pertaining to the importance of tourism on the economy in Indiana, stating that tourism is the state’s top service industry. According to the report, more than 180,000 residents work in the tourism industry. Additionally, more than 240,000 people work in related fields that receive tourist dollars. In 2016, visitors to Indiana paid over $1 billion in state taxes.
Indiana’s most prominent tourist destinations include the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. The state is also home to popular car museums in Auburn, South Bend and Evansville. These attractions draw visitors from all over the world.
This increase in tourists comes on the heels of Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative, a state plan to attract qualified workers to the state. The initiative involves a $1.2 billion investment in agritourism attractions, new roads, improved railways, and upgraded universities. The government is also working on a plan to attract recreational tourists to the state by expanding and improving Indiana’s bike paths.