Indiana will welcome nearly two dozen international travel agents on Monday and Tuesday. Two concurrent MegaFams (familiarization tours) are taking place on May 15-16. The Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) and its partners, are hosting travel agents from the UK and Ireland. Now in their fifth year, these BrandUSA MegaFam tours, have become coveted experiences among international travel agents.
“These MegaFams are unique opportunities to showcase Indiana and we’re delighted to share with the industry, partners in the state,” said Mark Newman, IOTD’s executive director. “Indiana is experiencing more international travel than ever before and the heartland tours are among the most sought after because they give visitors a true taste of Americana.”
One tour, called Cultural Courses, will begin at the Ohio River and make its way north through the state. The group will begin their day with an exclusive experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The guests will enjoy an Indy 500 practice session from the pagoda as well as garage and pit access. The group will then visit Main Street Speedway. The Speedway Chamber of Commerce and the businesses along Main Street will give the guests VIP treatment, a Dallara IndyCar Factory tour and two-seater rides in an IndyCar from Indy Racing Experience. The travel agents get to enjoy Indiana craft beer at Daredevil Brewing Company, appetizers at Big Woods Speedway, a variety of wines at Foyt Wine Vault, a legendary name in IndyCar Racing, and dinner at Barbeque and Bourbon.
On Tuesday, Visit Indy will host the travel agents for an Indianapolis sightseeing tour. The group will tour downtown on bicycles or White River State Park on Segways. This will be followed by refreshments at Fresco Italian Café on the Canal, gondola rides, and lunch at the Eiteljorg Museum of Indian and Western Art. The guests will make one final stop in Indiana at Albanese Confectionary. The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority set up a behind-the-scenes tour of the candy factory and a few samples.
The second tour group visiting Indiana will loop around Lake Michigan and be hosted by our partners at Indiana Dunes Tourism. The tour is called Pure Shores. The first stop will be a hike at Pinhook Bog in Michigan City. After working up an appetite, the guests will dine at South Shore Ovenworks. The group will then get to hike or take in the stunning views at Indiana Dunes State Park.
On Tuesday of this tour, the travel agents will enjoy local ingredients for breakfast at Third Coast Spice Café in downtown Valparaiso. After breakfast, the group will be taken to Broken Wagon Bison Farm in Hobart, where they will get up-close with bison in a wagon ride. The next stop will be a short tour at Chapel of the Resurrection, considered one of the most beautiful collegiate chapels in the world. The guests will conclude their tour at Valpo Velvet Shoppe with a tour of the facilities and a sample of handmade Indiana ice cream.
At the conclusion of both tours, the agents will meet in Chicago to share experiences and compare notes. The goal of these tours is for the agents to familiarize themselves with the wide array of array of experiences available in the heartland, so they’ll bring more international visitors to this region and Indiana, in particular.
About Indiana Office of Tourism Development:
Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch 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. The tourism and hospitality industry is directly responsible for 155,200 jobs, generates over $1.4 billion in tax receipts and contributes $11.5 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses. For more information: www.VisitIndiana.com.