PLYMOUTH In time for the summer travel season, Indiana is kick starting its tourism campaign. State officials introduced "Honest to Goodness Indiana," in February, the Hoosier state's new slogan. Advertising is expected to roll out in June, but counties across Indiana are already getting a head start.
May 3-11 is National Travel and Tourism Week, and Indiana has localized the event by county. In Marshall County, a week full of events included special guest, Mark Newman, of Indiana's Office for Tourism Development.
"This is an opportunity to put travel through Indiana in the spotlight, to elevate the great assets, the attractions, the destinations we have across the state," said Newman.
Tourism dollars do affect Hoosier families. According to Newman, Indiana taxpayers save $472 annually, which pales in comparison to neighboring states like Illinois, where taxpayers save closer to $1,000.
When it comes to an overall tourism budget, Newman says Indiana is well behind its regional competitors.
"We make a modest investment in tourism. We're outnumbered dollar for dollar in terms of investment by virtually every state surrounding us. To put it in perspective, Michigan has a budget of roughly $27 million, Illinois is twice that," said Newman. "Our tourism budget is about $2.5 million and we have to stretch that pretty far."
Tourism executives in Marshall County say they are using a small budget and social media to push people to visit historic landmarks.
"Most people are familiar with would be the Marshall County Blueberry Festival, it brings about half a million people to our community in a 4 day period. So that's a huge economic impact," said Cori Humes, the Executive Director for Marshall County Tourism.
"We're doing a better job all in all in the county to promote and bring new people here to experience what we have in our small, historic downtown."
To celebrate tourism week, the county hosted a breakfast on Monday, a convention featuring Mark Newman on Wednesday, and a social media push on Thursday.
For more information about Marshall County tourism, click here.