INDIANAPOLIS (July 18, 2014) – The Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) co-hosted a roundtable discussion with United States Senator Dan Coats and representatives from Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning. The meeting was organized by the US Travel Association and led by Mark Newman, executive director of IOTD. The discussion gave tourism leaders the opportunity to share initiatives and discuss policy matters with the senator.
“I appreciate the work Visit Indiana and all of you here today are doing to promote our wonderful state,” said Coats. “As I continue to look for ways to bring The Indiana Way to Washington, this is a great opportunity to learn more about this vital industry to Indiana."
The discussion focused primarily on national policy issues and their affect on Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Among the items discussed was the reauthorization of Brand USA, an initiative of the US Travel Association to encourage increased international visitation to the United States. In addition, an extensive range of subjects that impact the small businesses that constitute a majority of the industry were discussed. These included the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, the federal minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act and visa procedures for international travelers.
“Senator Coats is a strong supporter of Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry and we appreciate this wide-ranging discussion,” said Newman. “We are grateful for the work he does to sustain Indiana’s vitality, particularly his support of Indiana’s infrastructure and our farming heritage; which remains our state’s calling card. This was a great opportunity to connect with him in a meaningful way.”
Representatives from Indiana Tourism Association, Joseph Decuis Restaurant in Roanoke, French Lick Resort, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Corydon Group and Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association participated in the discussion.
“It was great for Senator Coats to visit with us today,” said Pete Eshelman, owner of Joseph Decuis. “The scope of the discussion was enlightening and it was encouraging to hear directly from the senator on a number of topics that are important to our industry.”
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, generates over $2.1 billion in tax receipts 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.
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.