Indianapolis Celebrates Record Visitation, Convention Bookings

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Business is booming in Indianapolis. The meetings and conventions business, in particular, according to Visit Indy, the city's convention and visitors bureau, which recently released new tourism data showing that 2017 was a big year for group travel in Indiana's capital city.

On the convention front, Visit Indy last year booked 874,473 future group room nights for events that will take place as far out as 2028, worth approximately $1 billion in future visitor spending. That makes 2017 the fourth consecutive year that the organization has booked more than 870,000 future group room nights -- a major feat considering that the it had never booked more than 815,000 group room nights in a single year prior to 2014.

Among the future events that Indianapolis snagged last year were: the NBA All-Star Weekend (2021), the College Football National Championship (2022), and the annual conventions of the American Society for Microbiology (2018), the American Wind Energy Association (2021), the Fraternal Order of Police Grand Lodge (2021), and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (2022).

The number of "consumed" group room nights -- rooms used for meetings that have already convened -- also grew in 2017, to a record 836,600, up from 822,654 in 2016 and 819,305 in 2012, when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl.

"Indy is on an unprecedented run of convention, sports, and tourism success, going back to the Indiana Convention Center expansion in 2011 and the Super Bowl in 2012," said Visit Indy President and CEO Leonard Hoops. "We've become a 12-months-a-year travel destination … And we're confident through our ongoing regional tourism master plan efforts, and our track record of steadfast support from elected and civic leaders over the past four decades, that our best is yet to come."

Group travel isn't the only bright spot for Visit Indy, however: Overall, a record 28.6 million visitors traveled to Indy in 2016 -- the most recent year for which there are data -- generating a record $5.2 billion in economic impact, including $719 million in state and local taxes.

"With record-setting growth and continued development, Indianapolis is well positioned to be the best in the country for meetings, conventions, and major events," said Mayor Joe Hogsett. "Our city's vibrant culture, unique neighborhoods, and critically acclaimed culinary, arts, and entertainment venues make Indy a one-of-a-kind destination. And thanks to the 80,000 hospitality employees who go above and beyond to deliver our city's signature hospitality, Indianapolis is a place people want to keep coming back to."