Visit Indy recognized the importance of developing a long-term tourism-focused plan that would secure the city’s future position in a competitive global tourism marketplace.
Indy is a national leader in hosting conventions and sporting events, named by USA Today as the No. 1 Convention City in the U.S. However, the city lacked a major, defining, year-round leisure drawing card. Strengthening the destination’s leisure product was core to the plan. Ultimately, the destination would like to attract more leisure visitors to balance out its dominance with groups, all the while enhancing the quality of life for local residents.
Our approach began with the formation of a steering committee, composed of regional leaders to guide the planning process. We then engaged more than 2,500 stakeholder – hospitality industry leaders, public officials, economic development professionals, and local residents via interviews, focus groups, and online surveys. We mapped existing regional tourism assets and held visioning workshops with key stakeholders to develop a shared vision for the future of the visitor economy in Indianapolis.
Five guiding principles were developed to guide the planning process:
- Alignment to community interests and residents’ priorities
- Unprecedented regional collaboration to move the visitor economy forward
- An inclusive and diverse planning and implementation process
- The challenge to think big and bold
- The charge to think sustainable
These Tourism Master Plan outlined seven core strategies and 52 key initiatives. These strategies are intricately linked and as a whole build Indy’s product offering, brand, and ability to enhance citizens’ lives and deliver memorable experiences. Detailed results include:
- Develop iconic experience game-changers – The City of Indianapolis, Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., and Visit Indy are leading a community vision to activate 58 miles of the White River as a natural and commercial corridor for residents and visitors.
- Create unique, authentic experiences and programming – Downtown Indy Inc. and the Indiana War Memorials Commission now illuminate the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with the nightly light presentation, Shining a Light.
- Further develop Indy’s downtown core as a visitor magnet – The new 42-story Signia Hilton on Pan Am Plaza will expand the Indiana Convention Center and create an unrivaled convention package.
- Take dramatic steps to enhance Indy’s sense of place – Neighborhood investment programs like Great Places 2020 are working to celebrate and enhance neighborhoods across Indy.
- Mobilize and connect visitors and residents – Rapid transit is running on the streets of Indy for the first time in more than a half-century with IndyGo’s Red Line.
Create a sustainable business model – Building a regional talent development and career pathways system to include career training programs that ensure long-term availability of qualified employees.