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Tourism important to local economy, speaker says

Mark Newman executive director IndianOffice Tourism Development.

Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

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Winners

The winners of this year’s ROSE awards were:

Lodging Location of the Year -- Riley’s Railhouse

Festival of the Year -- Central Park Plaza Events

Valparaiso Community Festivals & Events

Festival of the Year -- Central Park Plaza Events

Valparaiso Department of Parks and Recreation

Restaurant of the Year -- Sage

Retailer of the Year -- Air One Aerial Photography

Newcomer of the Year -- Birky Family Farms

Recreation Location of the Year -- Portage Township Parks

Partner of the Year -- Tonya’s Patisserie

Turning Lemons into Lemonade -- Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland

Professional of the Year -- Sue Stymiest of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

Shining Star -- Dani Landgrebe of Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille

Shining Star -- Peggy McConnachie of Third Coast Spice Cafe

Attraction of the Year -- Steel Wheels BMX

People’s Choice Lodging Location of the Year -- At Home in the Woods Bed and Breakfast

People’s Choice Restaurant of the Year -- Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille.

People’s Choice Retailer of the Year -- Molly Bea’s INGREDIENTS

Volunteer of the Year -- Helen Arvidson of Porter County Museum of History

Updated: June 11, 2013 6:26AM



MICHIGAN CITY — Tourism matters.

It brings in visitors who pump up the local economy and can generate new business outside the tourism industry.

“Studies have shown that every $1 spent on tourism generates $15,” said Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, during remarks Thursday at the Blue Chip Casino for the ROSE awards luncheon, sponsored by Indiana Dunes Tourism and Visit Michigan City LaPorte Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Newman is touring the state for National Travel and Tourism Week, which continues through Sunday. He told the almost 200 representatives from Porter and LaPorte counties that slashing tourism dollars doesn’t save money in the long run.

Colorado, he said, learned that the hard way when its tourism budget was slashed to zero to save $12 million. That state’s tourism market share plummeted by 30 percent, and the state saw a $1.4 billion loss in revenue.

“We need to spend money to make money,” he said.

That’s something the states surrounding Indiana understand. Michigan’s investment in its “Pure Michigan” campaign generated $606 million in visitor spending.

Tourism, he said, creates jobs, enhances the local economy, and improves the quality of life for Indiana residents. It also can generate business development; in Arizona, 50 percent of the state’s new businesses moved there because their chief executive officers had gone there as a visitor.

Indiana’s tourism office is taking on some new initiatives to enhance the state’s tourism industry, including updated studies on the economic impact of tourism in the state that will be regularly updated, Newman said.

The state also will be revising its marketing strategy to generate more tourism from within Indiana and from adjacent states.

There will be service standards outlined for the industry; Newman told local tourism officials the state could use their example to leverage “Hoosier Hospitality.”

“Outstanding service is a major factor in determining whether a person returns to an individual destination or even a state,” he said.

The Recognition of Service Excellence awards are given each year to honor the best restaurant, hotel, retail store, attraction and service industry professional among other categories.

Additionally, Dani Landgrebe, a server at Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille in Valparaiso was one of 18 people from across the state to receive a Hoosier Hospitality Award. She was nominated for the award by Indiana Dunes Tourism.



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