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Opening Arguments

The allegorical tourist

If these numbers are even close to being accurate, it's very good news:

New research about travel in Indiana reveals that more people are visiting Indiana and spending more money than in previous years. The study by D.K. Shifflet & Associates, commissioned by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, analyzed travel trends for 2006 compared to a similar 2004 study. It shows that a record-high 62.8 million travelers visited the Hoosier state in 2006, an increase of 7 percent compared to 58.7 million travelers in 2004. Visitor spending also increased nearly 20 percent to $9.86 billion dollars.

Permit me a little bit of skepticism. We should always be suspicious of good news that is generated by a study commission by the one organization that most wants to hear the good news. The use of "economic impact models" doesn't seem to be an exact science. I've written a few editorials based on them, usually with misgivings, especially when it comes to multipliers used to estimate indirect and induced effects.

This, from a separate study, is also doubtable :

Research conducted by Indianapolis-based Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI), shows that the “Restart Your Engines” slogan and marketing campaign continues to positively impact people's awareness of Indiana as a travel destination. The increased awareness of “Restart Your Engines” has improved Indiana's image on every attribute, including being a place that is considered fun, relaxing and full of places to discover.

It takes a really great slogan to stick in people's minds -- "What Happens in Vegas, etc." being the prime example. "Restart Your Engines," conjuring up images of getting stalled on a country road between cornfields, wouldn't lure me here.

Posted in: All about me