With tourism and hospitality growing in Elkhart County as well as throughout northern Indiana, the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau is responding to these positive trends by opening a new Visitor Center in summer 2019.
The new Elkhart County Visitor Center is expected to open at 3421 Cassopolis Street, Elkhart, in early summer. The ECCVB is leasing a commercial space that became available last year when Aldi moved. The new Visitor Center is less than a quarter-mile from the current location at 219 Caravan Drive, where it has been a tenant for more than 25 years.
“Exit 92 is the ideal location for a visitor center, and we’re excited to be staying in the area and utilizing an expanded and updated space that will drastically improve services for visitors and also has fantastic visibility for travelers coming off the Indiana Toll Road,” said Diana Lawson, chief executive officer. Exit 92 is the designation for Elkhart’s exit on the Indiana Toll Road. Hotels, including five new lodging properties which are under construction, around Exit 92 offer more than 1,800 rooms for travelers.
“Tourism, hospitality and lodging are strong drivers of economic activity around Exit 92 and throughout Elkhart County,” Lawson said. “This area has grown and changed significantly in the 28 years that the Visitor Center has been located along Cassopolis Street. This move will make our services much more accessible and visible to visitors.”
A 2018 report shows that visitors to Elkhart County contributed $550 million to the local economy in one year, including $374 million of direct visitor spending going into the cash registers of local businesses. Economic impact grew at an estimated 3 percent rate, adjusted for inflation. The 2018 tourism season was also strong, with 526,000-plus room nights sold at Elkhart County lodging properties.
Plans for the new center call for a spacious and modern facility that will be specially designed to tell the story of Elkhart County’s distinctive culture and history as makers and artisans and promote the vibrant lineup of small businesses, shops, restaurants and attractions that depend on visitors.
The visitor center gives travelers a chance to get personalized trip recommendations from the staff of destination concierges, while also learning about the wide diversity of attractions and things to do throughout the Elkhart County communities of Elkhart, Goshen, Bristol, Middlebury, Nappanee and Wakarusa, as well as Shipshewana in LaGrange County.
“The story of Elkhart County is rich with stories of early pioneers, innovators and entrepreneurs who built influential industries, and artisans who take high-quality craftsmanship to heart in everything from furniture, quilts and motorcycles to beer, noodles and cinnamon rolls,” said Lawson. “This center will be a tribute to those makers and a wonderful launching point for experiences centered on Elkhart County.”
The ECCVB works closely with tourism and hospitality-related businesses in the Elkhart County area to create a powerful and creative promotional message that reaches potential visitors throughout the Midwest and the U.S. The ECCVB partners with a range of businesses from hotels, RV campgrounds and beds and breakfasts, to attractions, to small shops, museums and parks, and festivals and events. Media tracking data show that millions read and hear positive messages about Elkhart County through the ECCVB’s collaborative promotional efforts.
“The success of Elkhart County’s tourism and hospitality industry would not be possible without the connections our partners enjoy with us and with each other as we work to promote this region,” Lawson said. “Our work with each of the cities and towns to choose smart and impactful investments in arts and culture, parks and green spaces, and community events is paying off.”
The Elkhart County, IN Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the official advertising/promotions and public/community relations organization for Elkhart County’s tourism and hospitality interests, placemaking assets and quality-of-place initiatives. The ECCVB advances initiatives in our downtowns and rural spaces, parks and natural environment, arts and culture, and events, festivals and activities that help forge social connections.
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For more information, contact Terry T. Mark, director of communications and public relations of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau, at 574-262-8161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.