At the March 15
State of Tourism address, Lorelei Weimer, executive director of Indiana
Dunes Tourism, gave a presentation featuring key facts about the Indiana
Dunes area and Porter County’s tourism.
The question on
everyone’s mind: “What does the Indiana Dunes National Park mean for
“To be blunt,”
Weimer said, “Northwest Indiana--specifically Porter County--is ‘Indiana
Dunes Country’--and the National Park status only elevates our destination
that the new National Park will contribute significantly to Indiana Dunes
Tourism’s already successful marketing campaigns, which include a regional
partnership with the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission,
strategic digital marketing campaigns, including over 400,000 website views,
and a new video marketing strategy that has 107,100 views on Facebook alone.
Weimer, six million visitors already come to Porter County each year, and of
that, 3.6 million are coming to see the Indiana Dunes. The Indiana Dunes
National Park and the Indiana Dunes State Park combined already rank seventh
in the nation for visitation out of the 418 National Park Service
Units--putting them just under Yellowstone National Park. National
Geographic even claims that the Dunes’ visitation is almost the same as
Tourism is one of
Porter County’s fastest-growing industries, responsible for 1,000
tourism-related businesses and more than 5,500 jobs--one-third of which are
higher-wage/professional occupations--all which pump $476 million into the
economy. Last year, Dunes Tourism directly generated $50.5 million in
economic impact, which is a $1 to $38 return on investment from taxes.
According to Kailey
Capuano, community engagement director for Dunes Tourism, the National Park
is resonating with the nation. “Our total social media impressions during
2018 were around two million, but in the one month since we became a
national park, we’re already at 708,000,” Capuano said.
Dunes Tourism has
begun marketing the destination with the name change, and the Dunes Tourism
Activities Guide, available in early April, will note the update.
released a newly updated Dunes 101 video series following a faux park ranger
throughout the dunes. While the video series still mentions the National
Lakeshore, it is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more
about this destination. It can be found at