You could dismiss this plan as the self-interest of an organization or an industry, and to be clear, the strategies and actions in this plan are here because they are critical to the growth and sustainability of the tourism and hospitality industry in Indy. However, we must not forget that this industry is a component of our community, and more specifically, a strategy to help it achieve broader economic and cultural goals. Rather than a special interest, we must remember that our industry is a vehicle to help the people and places of our region flourish.
Travel and tourism is part of the solution to addressing community needs. Our ability to contribute to the shaping of our community does not come from any legislative mandate or executive authority, but rather from the verdict of the long-term benefits derived from our work and its alignment with community goals. Our authority is derived and limited by residents’ ability to embrace and benefit from our work.
How we use this authority is informed by distinctions possessed by virtue of how we are structured. As the voice of the industry, we have an obligation to understand it through research, knowledge-building, and inclusive engagement of ecosystem partners. As the only organization seeing and understanding how the complete visitor experience functions, we have an opportunity to convene and plan and optimize this ecosystem. And as an independent yet publicly supported organization, we have an ability to test and cultivate ideas for the long-term benefit of our community that may challenge political and economic cycles and expediencies. Our role in co-creating our city is to use the authority entrusted to us to unquestionably know our industry, convene and align partners around a broad long-term vision, and offer a safe and stable platform for ideas to be explored and vetted, maximizing the opportunity for success of implementing partners.
Understanding our role and embracing partnerships is critical, and viewing this plan as a one limited to a single organization is both self-limiting and fails to embrace the premise of co-creation. By understanding our role properly, we believe if we do the planning work, and do it well, it is not necessary for us to commit all the resources or do the hard work of implementation. Certainly, there are times when we have roles, even leadership roles, in those steps. We trust that if we get the long-term planning work done right—if we can serve as the runway that cultivates ideas and undertakes the due diligence necessary to put them in the best possible place for success—we can be confident that good ideas will get done.