Pak-Harvey, Amelia. 2020. CARES funds’ usage debated: Some wonder if city’s attempt to boost tourism during pandemic was sensible. Indianapolis Star, Dec 26, 2020. (accessed December 29, 2020).

Drinks and dinner at a trendy steakhouse. Live outdoor music. A night out on the town.

As Indianapolis opened up over the summer amid a pandemic, city leaders funneled $1 million in federal coronavirus relief to sell these experiences, encouraging Hoosiers to enjoy the capital under the assurance “You Have Earned It.”

City and tourism officials say they were trying to help struggling businesses by directly targeting in-state residents with an advertising campaign to promote Indianapolis. Visit Indy estimates that its campaign generated $1.52 million in visitor spending, what the agency says is a conservative figure generated by the travel research firm D.K. Shifflet and Associates and Rockport Analytics.


Roughly $900,000 of the funding went directly to advertising – the majority collectively spent on Facebook, Google and an Austin-based advertising firm, according to public records provided by the city. The remaining $100,000 went to Visit Indy, the city’s tourism agency, to manage and monitor the campaign.

You can read the full article here: