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Visit Indy predicts 2024 to be busiest year in Indy tourism history

The group Visit Indy expects this year to be the busiest year for tourism in the city’s history
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Posted at 8:57 PM, Jun 24, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — 2024 is Indianapolis’ year. From NBA All-Star weekend to the Olympic Trials and now Taylor Swift just around the corner, people are flocking to the city for special events. Georgia Street has become a destination for many of these events.

Small businesses that call the street home, are seeing just how big of an impact these events are having. Georgia Street Grind located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis is one of the businesses benefiting from all the events.

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"We were able to see a nearly fifty percent increase in sales from 2022-2023,” Chris Clay the owner of Georgia Street Grind said. “We saw our traffic go up we saw coffee sales go up. "

The small coffee shop says business hasn’t always been this way though. After the pandemic things were slow, especially downtown. Now that isn't the case especially following the Olympic trials.

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"We saw record sales this week for this shop in that time period,” Clay said. “It has been a tremendous god send with what we do, just bringing a cup of coffee. "

The coffee shop says they are doing more sales this year then they did in 2019 before the pandemic. The city as a whole is seeing a similar boom. Tourism numbers this year are expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

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"As we look at this first half of the year we are on pace for record setting tourism by the end of 2024,” Chris Gahl Executive Vice President of Visit Indy said.

The number don’t lie either. According to data from Visit Indy hotels in the MSA are seeing record-setting rooms booked and record-setting revenue generated at $347.3 million. Downtown hotel occupancy is up 4% over last year, at 66% with the national average at 60%.

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Downtown hotel rooms are selling at the highest average daily rate ever recorded, at $204.32 per night per room with the national average at $155.73.

The short-term rental market, AirBnB and VRBO, is also performing at record levels. Bookings up +26.9% year-over-year, revenue up +45.1% year-over-year. November 2024 bookings are up 162.8% year-over-year thanks to Taylor Swift coming to town.

"As we look mid way point here for 2024 and peer out to the end of the year we are thinking maybe 32-million visitors and maybe creeping closer to six billion dollars in economic activity driven by tourism,” Gahl said.

Visit Indy says the city will keep up the momentum thanks to the construction of the Signia Hotel, which will add 800 new rooms. That development has already attracted more conventions, an economic momentum small local business say they are looking forward to.

"Downtown is coming back,” Clay said.

The American Legion, the National Educational Association and Alcoholics Anonymous are three major conventions the city has been able to book thanks to its growing availability of hotels rooms.