EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Tourism is putting NWI on map

2014-05-04T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Tourism is putting NWI on mapBy Speros Batistatos nwitimes.com
May 04, 2014 12:00 am  • 

National Tourism Week, May 3 through May 11, recognizes the impact travel and tourism has on our nation. In Lake County alone, tourism is a $1.62 billion industry, creating jobs and supporting local businesses. But with so many destinations, how does a visitor choose the perfect location for their next trip?

Throughout Northwest Indiana, business and governmental leaders are thinking outside the box about ways to attract tourism into our communities. The forward thinking of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky and the Marquette Plan has led a number of individuals and teams to work hard to put the region on the map, through the creation of events and attractions and facilities.

One of the latest ways to put the region on the map came with the creation of the South Shore Brewery Trail, a trail highlighting 16 northern Indiana breweries. This trail has garnered much attention since its inception from media and visitors alike. With the help of the Northern Indiana Brewers Guild, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority has created an easy format for visitors to plan a brewery tour along the South Shore. This cooperation will continue to grow as the South Shore CVA and the guilds look to launch new components of the trial in the near feature.

Many of the region's mayors understand the impact tourism has on their communities and the region as a whole.

Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura, through cooperation with the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, has overseen the redevelopment of the Whiting Lakefront Park. The Whiting Lakefront Development Plan will transform Whiting’s Lakefront into a destination both visitors and residents will enjoy.

With the proposed addition of the Chicago Baseball Museum and the Mascot Hall of Fame as well as the current attractions and businesses in downtown Whiting, Stahura has positioned his city to becoming a premier destination for travelers.

Another forward-thinking leader is Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor. The city will begin renovations of the Brickie Bowl. This revitalization aims to develop a downtown park that will use existing components such as the track, field, concession and locker room areas. Additionally, there are plans to add new components such as a stage, concourse and entertainment facility. These renovations and additions will make the Brickie Bowl a premier destination for youth and amateur athletic events as well as special events.

Finally, Crown Point Mayor David Uran and his team are with the South Shore CVA to bring the Hot Rod Power Tour to Crown Point. This event will create a festive atmosphere at the Lake County Fairgrounds with more than 2000 hot rods on display. Car lovers from around the Midwest will descend on the city to see the cars.

A forward-thinking convention and visitors authority is vital to Northwest Indiana's tourism industry and is the cornerstone to hospitality industry sporting events, facility improvements and conferences.

Speros Batistatos is president/CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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