Statewide tourism conference held in South Bend for first time

A major tourism conference is being held in South Bend for the first time.

People from all over the state are in the area to figure out ways to boost tourism numbers.

The new state tourism slogan, “honest to goodness Indiana,” was revealed last month. Now, industry focus turns to figuring out how to best showcase the different attractions all over the state.

More than 275 people from the tourism industry gathered at the University of Notre Dame to come up with strategies.

“Indiana has had limited capacity in its ability to attract visitors and create a culture of tourism,” said Mark Newman, director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. “Bringing these people together is extremely beneficial for our state.”

The Hoosier Hospitality Conference brings together representatives from hotels, festivals and visitors bureaus to exchange ideas.

“We want to be able to establish a platform to communicate from and market the state from,” Newman said. “We have an amazing array of assets here.”

The latest effort is the “Honest to Goodness” campaign which highlights gems like Indiana wine country and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

For South Bend, this conference provides an opportunity to reach new markets.

“There’s momentum in this community,” said Rob DeCleene, executive director for Visit South Bend Mishawaka. “We’re hoping people leave this conference tomorrow, spread around the state and chatter about their experience here.”


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