EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – As we near the end of the year, it can be a time for local organizations to look back on the successes and challenges from 2023 and look forward to 2024.
On Tuesday, Explore Evansville did just that, with their CEO and President Alexis Berggren joining the Rotary Club in Bally’s to present where we’re at with local tourism.
It was a chance to take a look back on 2023 while giving a sneak peek into what they’re looking forward to in 2024.
“I think it’s equal parts important. So, you need to kind of know what the trends have been because buy and large, especially in this community, you see trends during certain months,” explains Berggren, “so, very important to sort of look at those trends, but then also forecast for what we have going on in the future.”
A big marker for Explore Evansville is overnight stays at hotels.
In 2023, they exceeded their goals, hitting over 50,000 nights and generating over $32 Million Dollars in Economic impact through 2028.
Within the broader scope of tourism, they also look at the trends of visitors, or people that come from 30 miles outside of our local area.
That data revealed things even Berggren says she wasn’t aware of.
“I think that did surprise me, and I feel maybe a little sheepish to admit that,” says Berggren with a smile.
As it turns out, the most frequently visited and stayed in part of Evansville is the east side.
The most frequented restaurant by a long shot is Texas Roadhouse just off of I-69.
While the data may not settle the East Side versus West Side debate, Berggren says they’ve got a lot of big events coming up in 2024, including the IHSAA State Wrestling Tournament and the Solar Eclipse, and that data can help them meet people where they are.
“We are very lucky to have an incredibly busy Q1 in 2024. That is typically our slowest part of the year, but we will see the bulk of our major business in February, March, and April of next year,” says Berggren, “that’s gonna be really exciting to see what the overall impact is at the end of all that.”
“To me, that’s the most exciting is we will have this audience here that we can teach about Evansville and try to get them to different parts of town. We’ll have a shuttle going between downtown and Franklin Street,” says Berggren.
The Rotary Club has a few other events coming up:
- December 2, their Santa Run.
- December 5, presentation from Steve Martin on the “History and Future of the Promenade.”
- December 12, recap on 12 years in the Mayor’s Office from Lloyd Winnecke.
- December 19, holiday luncheon.
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