Chesterton Tribune



Consultant Tourism added $413 million to Porter County economy in 2015

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Porter County’s economy continues to benefit from the tourism industry, according to a report released Thursday by the County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission.

The report, completed by Certec Inc. of Versailles, Ky., said that between 2013 and 2015, the impact ballooned 3.5 percent from $386 million to $413.4 million dollars taken in.

“That’s a very healthy growth rate. It means that tourism is making a very important contribution to the local economy,” Certic President Jim Carr told the PCCRVC during a press conference held at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

The direct impact amount or purchases made by visitors was $290 million in 2015, Carr said. The indirect impact, or the “multiplier effect” of those dollars being recycled on goods and services in other industries of the county totaled approximately $123.4 million.

From the $290 million of direct spending in 2015, 38 percent was made on food and beverages, the largest sector to benefit from tourism. Other industries included shopping (20%), transportation (12%), lodging (11%), attraction (11%) and souvenirs (6%).

Food and beverage increased its portion by two percent from 2013. Lodging and souvenirs showed slight growth at one percent while the percentage from attractions and shopping stayed the same. Transportation fell by four percent, after making up 16 percent of spending in 2013.

Attraction guests in 2015 spent the most with 35 percent of visitor purchases. Lodging guests spent 29 percent, two percent higher than 2013. Visitors passing through or spending time with relatives or friends in the county contributed about 17 percent and 16 percent. Campers contributed more than one percent.

Lodging visitors, or those who spend the night, however spend the most with $112 per person per day on average. Those who just come to visit an attraction during part of the day spend on average $46 per person. People stopping to visit friends and family will spend an average of $60.

Certec estimates that 89 percent of the 3.1 million destination travelers to Porter County are from the leisure market. The sports market it brought in six percent while the convention and business market claimed five percent.

“The Porter County market has a high leisure market due to the large visitation at its very popular attractions,” the report said.

Carr noted that tourism spending supports 5,075 jobs in the county, 113 more than what was reported in 2013. That represents about 6.4 percent of all jobs in Porter County. Direct expenditures accounted for 3,937 of those jobs. The total wages driven by tourism spending was $98.7 million, comparable to $92 million two years prior.

About half of the jobs resulting from tourism are personal services jobs, totaling 2,464 employees. Carr said the spending also stimulated jobs in non-tourism industries like agriculture, fishing, construction and manufacturing.

Traveler expenditures led to the creation of 1,788 jobs, Carr said, 1,590 of those were within the lodging sector.

Another impact tourism in Porter County has is boosting the amount of tax dollars generated from property tax, business tax and innkeepers’ tax, Carr said. This led to $42 million in federal taxes in 2015, $35.8 million in state taxes and $19.3 million in taxes for County and municipal governments.

“Tourism benefits the quality of life for the residents. They also have more opportunity to participate in added attractions,” Carr said.

In other findings from the survey:

-- The largest group of visitors to Porter County for the yearly average in 2015 were Indiana residents with 29.1 percent, followed by Illinois with 18.4 percent and Ohio with 6.8 percent. Michigan residents were the fourth largest group with 6.5 percent.

-- Friends and relatives were the best information sources of Porter County attractions for travelers. The report said 40.1 percent got their information that way. The internet was the second most used source with 35.4 percent and the third was brochures with 23.7 percent.

-- Short trips or stays one to three nights were the most typical length of stay for visitors.

-- The Indiana Dunes State Park remains the most popular tourist activity in the county. Visiting friends and relatives was the second reason why travelers come here. Dining was another popular choice. The most frequented restaurants included casual dining, non-chain and locally owned or unique eateries.

Certec has compiled economic reports for tourism in Porter County since 1994. That year, the total impact was $187 million. In 2000, the total was $225 million.

“Tourism is definitely big business in Porter County. It has grown substantially, more than double, over the 20 or so years we’ve been measuring its impact,” Carr said. “There are many high quality facilities here that help to bring people back a second, third or fourth visit.”


Posted 2/17/2017


Posted 2/17/2017


Posted 2/17/2017


Posted 2/17/2017


Posted 2/17/2017


Posted 2/17/2017




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