May 2-8 is National Travel & Tourism Week
and Visit Indiana Week
Morgan County Residents encouraged
to participate in the power of travel.
Martinsville, Ind. – It’s nearly May, and that means it’s time to talk tourism. May 2-8 is both National Travel & Tourism Week, organized by USA Travel, and Visit Indiana Week, organized by the Indiana Destination Development Corporation. Why celebrate travel and tourism? Travel provides value to our lives, both personally and as a major economic driver.
The tourism sector of the US economy is big business. Generating more than a trillion dollars in visitor spending pre-pandemic. That translates to 16.7 million American jobs. Travel and hospitality jobs were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and are just beginning to rebound as more and more Americans get vaccinated and look to travel for both work and pleasure over the coming months. Experts are looking to travel as one of the primary drivers of America’s post-pandemic economic recovery. This year’s National Travel and Tourism Week theme is the POWER OF TRAVEL, in recognition of the industry’s vital role in bringing back our vibrant communities, restoring our economy, rebuilding our workforce and reconnecting America.
Bringing it a bit closer to home, travel and tourism in Indiana welcomes 81 million visitors, who spend more than $13 billion in our statewide economy and supporting more than 200,000 Indiana jobs – that’s one in every 23 jobs. In fact, tourism saves each Indiana household more than $560 in state and local taxes!
Morgan County’s not exempt from this – though our tourism industry is relatively small when compared to our neighbors in Indianapolis or Bloomington, it is significant. Overall visitor spending in Morgan County was more than $29 million in 2019. That supports more than 350 local jobs and saves our local Morgan County households more than $100 each in taxes each year.
Travel and tourism also create major positive impacts in our personal lives. Travel, even if it's nearby, has a tremendous impact on mental well-being and also helps to reduce stress, clear your mind and boost happiness. The best part? These positive aspects of travel are available to you at zero cost. Not that it isn't great to travel to far-off places and stay at luxury resorts, but the fact is, the mental and physical benefits of travel are the same if you simply take a one hour road trip to visit a lake or forest!
To celebrate the power of travel this year, Visit Indiana is encouraging residents to get out and explore the state in a relatively low-risk way using the Indiana Nature Passport. This online check-in based program invites you to visit Indiana’s State Parks, Reservoirs, Forests and State Recreation Areas to earn prizes. In addition to the program’s regular prize levels, additional prize packages will be awarded during the week of May 2-8, including a grand prize of a 2021 Indiana State Parks Pass!
Research shows that outdoor activities in particular have increased over the past year as residents seek out relatively safe ways to get out the house during the ongoing pandemic. In fact, on Sunday, May 2, in celebration of Visit Indiana Week and National Travel and Tourism Week, admission will be waived at all Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties that normally require gate fees. Sunday May 2 is also a Free Fishing Day in Indiana, so you can enjoy fishing Indiana’s public waters without a license.
You don’t have to travel far to participate in Visit Indiana Week activities – in fact, Morgan County has two state properties featured on the Indiana Nature Passport along with several in neighboring counties as well. Morgan-Monroe State Forest and Ravinia State Forest are both included, as is Paynetown SRA in nearby Monroe County, McCormick’s Creek State Park and Own-Putnam State Forest in Owen County and Brown County State Park, Yellowwood State Forest and Mountain Tea State Forest in Brown County. The complete list of check-in sites can be found online at https://visitindiana.com/explore.
Visit Morgan County is celebrating locally as well – stop in to the Morgan County Visitors Center, located inside the Main Connection at 460 South Main Street in Martinsville, during regular hours to pick up an Indiana Visitors Guide, Indiana Recreation Guide or Morgan County Visitors Guide and you’ll also receive a free gift from Visit Morgan County! Regular hours are 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Visitor information is also accessible during the Morgan County Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.
As always, Visit Morgan County encourages residents to be a “tourist” in their own hometown whenever they can. Travel and tourism benefits everyone’s quality of life and general well-being no matter how far (or how close) the destination. Be sure to follow the Visit Morgan County, Indiana page on Facebook for regular updates on fun things to do and check their website for additional information on popular attractions in the area and upcoming events at visitmorgancountyin.com.
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Visit Morgan County promotes all of Morgan County as a travel destination in order to grow the economic impact of the tourism industry and support local business.