A decades-long strategic effort to become a formidable convention and event destination and $3 billion invested in infrastructure contributed to Indianapolis achieving record tourism success in 2016.
Highlights include 28.2 million visitors spending $4.9 billion; visitors supporting 77,800 full-time-equivalent jobs; and 822,654 group room nights, surpassing the previous record set the year the city hosted Super Bowl XLVI.
Visit Indy, Indianapolis' official destination marketing organization, has already booked 883,867 future group room nights for events which will occur as far out as 2024, worth nearly $1 billion in future visitor spending. Last year was the second-best future group room nights year in Visit Indy's 94-year history. Prior to 2014, Visit Indy had never booked more than 815,000 future group room nights in a single year but has now booked more than 880,000 future group room-nights in three consecutive years.
"Tourism is a vital, and growing, economic engine for Indy and our surrounding region," Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy, said. "Visitors generate $2.4 billion in wages for central Indiana residents and relieve the tax burden for area households by about $950 per household. Nearly 50 cents of every visitor dollar goes toward wages for hospitality and supply chain employees."
A few of the major wins that contributed to the success in 2016 include:
- A one-year extension of Gen Con through 2021, generating an estimated $72 million in economic impact.
- Booking Primerica, one of Forbes' top financial services companies, that will bring 50,000 attendees to the city in 2017 and generate an estimated $34 million in economic impact.
- Bringing CEDIA's global trade show back to Indy in 2021 for the first time since 2012, worth an estimated $22 million in economic impact.
- Rebooking American Railway Engineering & Maintenance Association for 2023, generating an estimated $11 million in economic impact.