INDIANAPOLIS (April 29, 2014) – The Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that entry to all Indiana state parks is free on Sunday, May 4 for the start of Visit Indiana week. The traditional kickoff of the summer travel season, this year’s Visit Indiana Week is May 4-11.
“Hoosiers are ready to get out and explore their state after this long, harsh winter,” said Mark Newman, IOTD executive director. “With 24 parks and eight reservoirs, there is no better way to shake off any lingering cabin fever than to have a great Honest-to-Goodness Indiana experience in our wonderful parks system.”
Newman will travel the state throughout the week to promote Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry; including an event in Delaware County on May 8 to celebrate the opening of a new Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel is being built by The Arc of Indiana and will include a training center to prepare people with disabilities for careers in the hospitality industry. This will be the only hotel of its kind in the country.
Also on May 8, Newman will attend Play Day at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari when the park will host nearly 3,000 school-aged children with disabilities, along with their teachers and chaperones. Admission proceeds will be donated to the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center of Evansville. Throughout the week, Newman will also attend events at Fort Harrison State Park, Hoosier Park in Anderson, Marshall County and other locations across Indiana.
The first weekend of Visit Indiana Week coincides with DNR’s Welcome Back Weekend. In addition to free admission to everyone on May 4, the weekend also features free admission for veterans and active duty military personnel on Saturday, May 3.
“Our properties are inexpensive places to relax, play, exercise and enjoy the outdoors,” said Dan Bortner, DNR State Parks & Reservoirs director. "This weekend is an invitation to shake out the tent or set up the camper and enjoy all that our state parks have to offer.”
Tourism is big business in Indiana. An economic impact report released in December 2013, shows the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state (excluding government), is directly responsible for nearly 140,000 jobs and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses. The recently-launched Honest-to-Goodness Indiana brand campaign aims to further elevate the undertold stories of Indiana’s destinations and attractions.
Travelers looking for Honest-to-Goodness Indiana destinations throughout the state will find over 250 trip ideas at Indiana’s official tourism website, VisitIndiana.com. In addition to the online tools available, free copies of the 2014 Indiana Travel Guide and other travel publications can be ordered at VisitIndiana.com or by calling 800.677.9800.
Indiana Office of Tourism Development
Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann oversees the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. Mark Newman serves as the agency's executive director. IOTD is dedicated to enhancing the economic vitality of Indiana through leadership and resource support to the Indiana travel industry for awareness-building, product development and job creation.