ANDERSON — When it comes to tourism, small businesses are leading the state’s industry — something Robbie Mixell sees first hand.
“We usually keep track of where people are from and last year we had people from 27 different states and nine different countries,” said Mixell, owner of Canoe Country, 6660 S. County Road 900 West, Daleville.
More than 90 percent of the state’s tourism, which is the third largest industry in Indiana, is operated by small businesses owners like Mixell and almost a quarter of a million Hoosiers are employed in the industry.
On Tuesday, Canoe Country and 20 other travel and business exhibitors will be on hand during an “Explore the World in a Day” event hosted by Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, 4500 Dan Patch Circle. The event, which is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Terrace Showroom, will feature Indiana’s new tourism campaign “Honest to Goodness.”
The campaign is based on the Hoosier hospitality reputation of friendly people and old-fashioned charm.
According to the brand’s narrative, “Our people do not pretend to be something they are not, because they are proud to be who they are. That genuine personality translates into authentic experiences for visitors traveling our state.”
It's a brand that not only works, but is good for business.
Each year more than $10 billion is spent in Indiana from people touring the state. That creates more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue.
Tom Bannon, executive director of the Anderson Madison County Visitors Bureau, plans to speak at the event and said promoting Madison County attractions not only brings travelers to the area, it helps to encourage local conferences and tournaments, spurring the economy’s growth.
“One of our difficulties is the word tourism,” Bannon said. “People think tourism is a vacation and people aren’t taking vacations to Anderson. But, to me, tourism is entertainment and there are seven to eight main attractions we have that we can promote for people to spend the day in Madison County.”