Tourism

 

Tourism is more than a secondary industry in LaGrange County -  it is a vital economic engine. The county, home to the second largest Amish settlement in the United States, attracts hundreds of thousands of leisure travelers, tour groups, and destination travelers over the course of the year. These visitors increase the population of the small town of Shipshewana from approximately 677 residents to well over 20,000 on a busy summer day. Shipshewana welcomes over 2,300,000 visitors annually, and is considered one of the top 5 most visited attractions in Indiana  The visitors come to experience the largest outdoor flea market in the Midwest, the Amish Mennonite culture, and shop in the quaint retail shops, enjoy a home-style meal or experience one of the many artisans or road side stands of a vibrant cottage industry. 
 
Tourism has a large impact on the LaGrange County economy.  In 2016, the LaGrange County Convention and Visitor's Bureau commissioned a CERTEC study to gauge the 2015 impact versus the 2013 impact, the last year the CERTEC study was completed - and the results are staggering.  
  • The tourism and travel industry contributed nearly $155.3 million to the LaGrange County economy in 2015 compared to $137.2 million in 2013.  Direct expenditures by tourists account for $111.3 million of this total. An annual real growth of 6.6 percent.
  • Tourism generated over $36.6 million in tax revenues to government.
  • $7.2 million locally. 
  • Local residents spent an additional $12.2 million with local tourism, creating 153 jobs
  • 1772total jobs resulted from the tourism industry in 2015
  • Over 1/3 created were in high wage occupations.
  • $36.5million in wages generated in 2015 compared to $32.2 million in 2013.
  • Shopping, food & beverage, and lodging purchases accounted for 4 out of 5 dollars spent.
  • Typical visitor to the LaGrange County area is most likely to be a college graduate (63.1%), and working in a professional job (40.0%)
  • Average visit length is one-to-three days in length (73.5%)
  • In a random sample collected on one May day, the average visitor came from midwestern states - Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio, but also included visitors from Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, California, New Jersey, Texas, California, Maine and Nebraska in a sample of 103 parties.  Tourism reaches out beyond the Town of Shipshewana as well.  LaGrange County is a perfect home for naturalists and those who love outdoor sports.  LaGrange County is home to a 11,605 acre Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area that welcomes thousands of visitors a year to visit its 529 acres of lakes, 17 miles of free flowing river, and its many different woodlands and camping areas.  The county also boasts a number of privately owned campgrounds that cater to all tastes, from those who would like a more primitive experience to the folks who would prefer to rent a cabin or hook-up their recreational vehicle or camper to all of the amenities of home.  LaGrange County is also home to 67 natural lakes, rivers that are ideal for canoeing and kayaking, and a vibrant county and town parks system (including 2 skate-board parks) so that people of all ages can find something outdoors to keep them active all year!  These opportunities help to contribute to the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation ranking LaGrange County as the 5th healthiest county in Indiana!  From boaters to campers, and hunters to bird-watchers, LaGrange County has an outdoor activity for everyone.
 

 

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