Tourism bouncing back for county
By Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
While not everything has returned to normal since the coronavirus hit Indiana in March of 2020, the Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau continues to see signs of improvements in the tourism industry.
One measurement of that is the innkeepers tax the CVB receives.
Jeremy Yackle, executive director of the Harrison County CVB, reported Thursday afternoon to the Harrison County Tourism Commission that $367,000 had been received from January through November of last year.
“We don’t have December yet, but we’ll probably get over $400,000,” he said. “We’ve bounced back really well.”
The months of January and February continue to be slower months for visitors, Yackle added.
During staff reports, it was noted that the number of people who entered the Blaine H. Wiseman Visitor Center in downtown Corydon was “way up” in 2021 compared to 2020, with 14,462 people counted during the 12 months last year.
Yackle said that’s still down from 2019’s count.
Reporting for Amanda York, who is on maternity leave, Yackle said website traffic for December was up 13% over the same month in 2020.
The sale of gift cards to attractions in the area, which the CVB promoted during the holidays, saw a 20% increase over the previous year.
“We’ll probably push it a little more next year,” Yackle said.
York also left word with Yackle that social media for the CVB did well, with an additional 1,500 “followers” added to its Facebook page.
Yackle said York does a really good job of scheduling posts.
The newest edition of the Visitors Guide is coming in partial shipments due to the printer having difficulty getting enough paper to print all of its orders for customers, Yackle noted. The CVB is one of its biggest clients and was asked to take partial delivery, he said.
Stacy Pirtle, who was working the CVB booth at the Progressive Insurance Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow in Louisville, left word with Yackle that Corydon will be featured on the cover of the next Premier travel guide. He said it’s something the CVB has tried to accomplish for several years.
Tourism Week this year will be celebrated May 1 to 7, Yackle said.
The CVB has been working with several entities, including Main Street Corydon, in planning the return of the Popcorn Festival. Yackle told the commission they recently learned that the pumper used several years ago during the festival to spray popped corn during the parade still functions.
Dates for the festival are July 1 and 2.
Yackle reminded the commission that an economic impact study will be completed this year, as funds of $5,900 to do so were put in the 2022 budget. He said a study has not been done since 2016.
“It’s well worth it,” Yackle said, adding the company that does the study interacts with visitors to the county as well as with local lodging managers and others.
The commission approved Yackle’s request to transfer $20,000 back to the operating reserve fund.
“We’re not quite back to the $100,000 taken out when the pandemic started,” Yackle said, “but we’re slowly paying it back.”
Also during the meeting, Dan Capelle was welcomed as a new board member. He fills the expired term of Cecil Trobaugh, who was completing the late Larry Bennett’s term.
While reorganizing for the new year, the commission agreed to retain its current officers: Michael Wiseman, president; Scott Fluhr, vice president; and Claudia Yundt, secretary.