Indianapolis Tourism Drives Record-Setting Impact | Sports Destination Management

Indianapolis Tourism Drives Record-Setting Impact

Mar 12, 2018

Visitors to Indianapolis have boosted the region’s economy with record spending for six consecutive years, according to research conducted by Rockport Analytics for Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ official destination marketing organization (DMO).

A record 28.6 million visitors added $5.2 billion in economic impact into Indy’s economy in 2016, the most recent full year data available. The region has recorded record annual visitor spending every year since 2011.

“With record-setting growth and continued development, Indianapolis is well positioned to be the best in the country for meetings, conventions, and major events,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our city’s vibrant culture, unique neighborhoods, and critically acclaimed culinary, arts, and entertainment venues make Indy a one-of-a-kind destination. And thanks to the 80,000 hospitality employees who go above and beyond to deliver our city’s signature hospitality, Indianapolis is a place people want to keep coming back to.”

Visit Indy also reported another strong convention year and leisure tourism results for 2017.

Visit Indy booked 874,473 future group room-nights (which includes conventions, trade shows, meetings and events) in 2017 for events which will occur as far out as 2028, worth about $1 billion in future visitor spending. It marks the fourth consecutive year booking more than 870,000 future group room-nights; prior to 2014, Visit Indy had never booked more than 815,000 future group room nights in a single year.

“Indy is on an unprecedented run of convention, sports and tourism success, going back to the Indiana Convention Center expansion in 2011 and the Super Bowl in 2012,” said Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy. “We’ve become a 12-months-a-year travel destination, topping $5 billion in visitor economic impact for the first time. And we’re confident through our ongoing regional tourism master plan efforts, and our track record of steadfast support from elected and civic leaders over the past four decades, that our best is yet to come.”

A few of the major wins that contributed to the success in 2017 include:

  • Collaborating with the Indiana Sports Corp, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Indianapolis Colts, and others to win the NBA All-Star Weekend (2021) and the College Football National Championship (2022).

  • First-time bookings from the American Society for Microbiology (2018), American Wind Energy Association (2021), Fraternal Order of Police Grand Lodge (2021), and Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (2022); and extending Gen Con’s convention in Indy to 2022.

  • Working with the Indianapolis International Airport, the Indiana Economic Development Corp., and others to help secure the state’s first transatlantic non-stop flight, an Indy-to-Paris connection on Delta beginning in May 2018.

The number of "consumed" group room-nights – those that actually convened in 2017 – set a new record with more than 836,600 room-nights, beating 2016’s record of 822,654 room-nights and 2012's Super Bowl-fueled mark of 819,305 room-nights. The groups that met here in 2017 were booked by Visit Indy as far back as 2005.

In addition to strong convention sales results, Visit Indy set records for website traffic to More than 3.3 million people visited the site in 2017, tripling website traffic since 2011. Visit Indy increased its shared media audience and connections with 31.9 percent growth on Twitter (110,000 followers), 31.3 percent growth on Instagram (46,000 followers), and 18.6 percent growth on Facebook (142,000 likes).

National media also took notice, with Indy making headlines with some of the travel industry’s most respected names:

  • “Best Places to Travel in 2017” – Travel + Leisure

  • “America’s Favorite Food Cities” – Food & Wine

  • “6 Cities to Watch in 2017” – Condé Nast Traveler

  • “Best Places to Travel in 2018” – Out Magazine

  • “#1 Airport in America” – Condé Nast Traveler

To enhance Indy’s presence on the big screen and generate local economic impact, Film Indy helped generate 240 projects worth $9.7 million in visitor spending and announced that American Ninja Warrior would return to Indy in April 2018.

 The mission of Visit Indy is to increase Indianapolis economic growth by strategically selling the destination to conventions, meetings, events, and leisure travelers. For more information,

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