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Indiana weathering tourism hit better than other states, experts say

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Posted at 8:51 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 05:48:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Like most states, Indiana's tourism industry has taken a major hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite cancellations of major sporting events, including the rescheduling of the Indianapolis 500, Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, said our state is one of the lucky ones when it comes to the impact on tourism.

"So right now Indiana isn't as effected by the tourism and travel industry. Simply because of the numbers," Gonzalez said.

While visitor spending in 2019 accounted for $9.3 billion in total economic impact, Indiana has several other industries still picking up the slack.

"So at least this one industry has the Midwest somewhat safeguarded. Since we do still need things like the agriculture industry, the manufacturing industry… that's actually better news for the Midwest," Gonzalez said.

Other states, such as Florida, Nevada and Hawaii, whose economies depend heavily on tourism, are going to have a bigger challege returning to normalcy.

"Losing this chunk of time is determinantal to their economy," Gonzalez said.

While not as devastating, Indiana has seen major losses, too. The Big Ten Tournament was expected to bring in $15 million to Indianapolis, and the cancellation of the NCAA tournament cost the city close to $40 million. Rescheduling the Indy 500 could mean far fewer fans than the typical 300,000 who have flocked the Speedway in past years.

There are more than 150,000 people who work in tourism in our state who are being greatly impacted by the closures and cancellations due to COVID-19. However, the silver lining? Indiana has a better chance of a quicker recovery thanks to other industries continuing to support our state.

More details on WalletHub Study: Tourism Impact on States