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Tourism numbers rebounding in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to Visit Indy, hotel occupancy is only 3.2% below where it was before the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The city has hosted 550 conventions so far in 2022, from small gatherings to large ones like the Performance Racing Industry Expo which is expected to bring 50,000 people to the city of Indianapolis.

“The PRI show is the largest racing trade show in the world, it brings manufacturers big and small from all over the world, drivers mechanics, car builders, race tracks,” said PRI General Manager Jim Liaw.

The expo is expected to have a $48 million dollar economic impact on the city.

Less than a year after most lockdowns and mandatory mask rules were removed, Visit Indy said it’s having its best November on record.

“One of the things that really set this past November a part actually was we had a group meet over Thanksgiving weekend which is a weekend that never has any conventions in any city,” said Senior Communications Manager for Visit Indy.

Even during the COVID-19 lockdown Indianapolis was able to host several events like the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, while complying with local health restrictions.

“We took the Sweets and Snacks Expo from Chicago, that had met there for more than two decades, and said, hey we can host you when Chicago was unable to,” Swick said.

Exhibitors for the PRI trade show are up 10% from last year, and the company recently moved its headquarters from Southern California to Speedway.

The company said having the convention and its headquarters in the same city seemed like a natural fit.

“Lots of pragmatic reasons as well, within a four hour driving radius consists of 50% of the American population,” Liaw said.

Visit Indy said business travel numbers are still lagging, but it expects that to improve as we head into 2023.