Tourism spending increased by $9M in Wabash County
Visit Wabash County announces the results from the Economic Contribution of Tourism in Wabash County report, which boasts an increase of over $9 million in visitor spending from the previous data-collection year. 
The key metrics and economic impact assessment was conducted by Rockport Analytics via a co-op program organized by the Indiana Destination Development Corporation.  Wabash County was among 17 other counties to utilize the program.  
“Tourism continues to be a large economic driver in Wabash County,” said Nate Fansher, senior vice president at Crossroads Bank and 2023 Board President for Visit Wabash County, “Having quantifiable results of Visit Wabash County’s efforts reiterates how much impact tourism has on the economic health and vitality of our county.”
The economic importance of tourist spending in a community extends well beyond core hospitality and transportation sectors.  Tourism Economics offers a solution to the efforts of destination marketing organizations, such as Visit Wabash County, and to industry associations that marries rigorous methodology and compelling communication to raise the profile of tourism as an economic engine.
The report concluded the following 2021 Wabash County Tourism Highlights:
Spending by Visitors to Wabash County totaled $65.1 million in 2021, an increase of $9.3 million over the previous year and $6.1 million over 2019.
Visitors spent $6 million on lodging, $17.4 million on food & beverages, $19 million on retail, $8.1 million on entertainment and recreation, and $14.7 million on transportation. 
The economic impact of these expenditures totaled $65.1 million.  
Of every tourism dollar spent in Wabash County in 2021, $.44 ‘stayed’ local totaling a retention of $28.4 million. 
Visitor Spending in Wabash County supported 958 jobs and $16.4 million in labor income.  Tourism is the 5th largest industry (4th not including Government) in Wabash County (by jobs). 
Tourism-Initiated Tax Revenue generated $3.3 million in Federal tax collections, $6.1 million in State & local taxes including $3.4 million in sales taxes and $2.5 million in property taxes supporting the local tax base. 
If Wabash County tourism did not exist, each of the 12,538 households in the county would have to pay an additional $490 per year in taxes to maintain current state & local tax levels.
Approximately 7.5 percent of all jobs in Wabash County are supported by tourism to the region.  In addition to the hotel and restaurant industry, tourism directly supports jobs in retail trade, transportation, and the arts. 
“The study revealed that tourism is the 5th largest industry in Wabash County (by jobs),” said Christine Flohr, executive director of tourism for Visit Wabash County. “It is important for key decision-makers and residents to understand the significant impact that tourism has and how it directly affects the quality of place and growth of Wabash County. We report these findings annually in addition to our Year in Review Report as a way to ensure that the public is aware of the critical work that the team at Visit Wabash County is executing successfully.”
Contributing to public education, the state & local tax revenue collected from tourism in Wabash County is sufficient to fund 482 Indiana public school students and roughly 115 Indiana public school teachers. Approximately 7 percent of all people working in Wabash County are supported by visitors to the county, according to the report. 
The organization is governed by President Nate Fansher (Senior Vice President at Crossroads Bank), Vice President Jan Roland (Community Volunteer), Secretary Jeremy Markham (Athletic Director for Huntington Community Schools), Treasurer Howard Kaler (General Manager for the Charley Creek Inn), Past President Adam Stakeman (Industrial Sales Manager for J.M. Reynolds Oil Company), Brittany Rager (Marketing & Special Event Director for Brandt’s Harley-Davidson), Jennifer Bailey (owner of Salamonie Bridal Stalls and The Sanctuary), Beverly Vanderpool (Community Volunteer), and Beth Gillespie (Lagro Canal Foundation). 
Office staff includes Christine Flohr, executive director of tourism, Biz Bishop, content manager, Jennifer Long-Dillon, tourism manager, Thomas Cavins, creative lead, Stephanie Rogers, visitor experiences manager, Hayley Renbarger, marketing strategist, Stacy Clegg, visitor experiences coordinator, and Karigan Long, visitor experiences intern. 
Posted on 2023 Mar 07