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Pinching Pennies On Tourism

This week on Noon Edition, we discussed the state of tourism in Indiana since the economic downturn.

Indiana tourists riding horses through Brown County during the fall.

Photo: Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Indiana State Tourism Director Amy Vaughan says Indiana tourism is actually benefiting from the recession as more Hoosiers decide to vacation close to home.

Tourism in the state is holding its own during the recession.  Indiana State Tourism Director Amy Vaughan said the number of people attending Indiana attractions, such as Holiday World and Fair Oaks Farms, has gone up.  But restaurants and hotels haven’t fared quite as well — with numbers down last year.  However, Vaughan said they’re experiencing a bounce back this year.

“What we’re hearing this year is positive.  We’re hearing that restaurants are starting to see and up-turn.  They are ahead of last year,” Vaughan said.  “For hotels as well, what they’re seeing is occupancy is up however rates are still down so it will take a little while to bring the rate back up.”

Vaughan said Indiana tourism is actually benefiting from the recession as more Hoosiers decide to vacation close to home.  Columbus Visitors Bureau Associate Director Cindy Frey said that’s the case in her city as well.

“We have had a very strong year,” Frey said.  “2009 was our second best year ever in terms of innkeeper tax collection.  2008 was a record setting year for us and this is our second best year.”

Vaughan and Frey made their comments on WFIU’s Noon Edition.

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