Indiana Dunes Tourism Draws Global Interest
February 20th — A local attraction is getting global attention from out of town tourists.
The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center recorded foot traffic from 73,500 people in 2013 — including visitors from 48 states and 33 foreign countries — according to the center’s annual visitor report.
“I helped a couple visiting from France, so I have seen firsthand that people from other parts of the county and the world are interested in Indiana Dunes country, “says Ken Kosky, promotions director for Indiana Dunes Tourism.
The group says its visitor register was signed by people from Australia, China, Germany, Spain, France and Russia last year. Germany had the highest number of visitors who signed the register.
Lorelei Weimer, executive director of Indiana Dunes Tourism, says the Indiana Dunes is the biggest tourist attraction in Porter County. Officials say the 3 million visitors it attracts rivals the 3.4 million that travel to Yellowstone National Park annually.
Weimer said the Visitor Center’s location at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter is ideal for assisting visitors because it is located just minutes from Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Kosky adds Porter County’s proximity to Chicago helps fuel foot traffic.
“We certainly benefit from our location near Chicago,” he says. “We’ve seen that a lot of people that visit Chicago also come over to visit Dune country and go even further to visit Amish country.”
An Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore study showed 2 percent of visitors are international visitors, 40 percent are from Illinois, 40 percent are from Indiana and 18 percent are from other states.
Last year, Indiana Dunes Tourism also saw a 57 percent jump in visitors to their website, www.IndianaDunes.com.
Kosky says the international attention is a reminder of unique sights near home in Northwest Indiana.
“Many people don’t realize how fortunate we are to have the Indiana Dunes,” he says. “The dunes area offers great hiking, swimming and recreational opportunities for local residents. People come from across the world to experience what we can experience every day.”
By: Hilary Powell