WESTFIELD, Ind. – Hamilton County is becoming a destination spot for travelers more and more.
Statistics from the most recent data available show tourism in Hamilton County grew by 11.9 percent in 2015, according to Rockport Analytics’ annual economic impact report.
“It’s seismic,” Hamilton County Tourism President and CEO Brenda Myers said. “It’s almost three times what the state had done.”
Myers explained while the tourism sector in Hamilton County has been growing for a while, the drastic increase between 2014 and 2015 is greatly attributed to the opening of Grand Park in Westfield.
“In a very fun way, this building has much more potential than we ever even dreamed of,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said. “Nearly every weekend especially in the summer the population of Westfield can grow by almost 50 percent.”
That demand from Grand Park and other tourist attractions in Hamilton County are starting to make the hotel industry take note.
There are several hotels going up right now in the area and several more are already in the works.
Myers said in the next three years Hamilton County will increase the number of hotel rooms available from 3,100 to more than 5,000.
Mayor Cook said hotels aren’t the only things being built in his city.
“The demand for restaurants, the demand for food service, for entertainment and shopping is increasing along with the number of visits to the park,” Cook said.
To that point, Myers the next step for her agency is to improve the nightlife options for visitors so they have something to do after an event or dinner in one of the county’s downtown areas.
She said she’s very excited about the talks of a ice skating rink in Carmel and about the possibilities that could go along with the River Walk project in Noblesville.
“Could you get down into the river and take a little pontoon boat ride in the river,” Myers said. “We are sort of focusing on those very narrow topics that could make a big impact.”