New reports find good economic growth in Indianapolis

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Indianapolis can end the week with some good economic news.

A new study finds the city has recovered economically from the recession, at a faster pace than most other major U.S. cities, according to the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase.

In 2014, Indianapolis saw both an increase in the city’s gross domestic product and employment.

“We still make things in the Midwest, and we make it for the rest of the country and the rest of the world,” Michael Hueber said, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber. “So that’s really going to be the key.”

Also this week, Visit Indy reported 2014 was a record-setting year for hotel bookings and conventions, including bringing back the NRA Convention in 2019 and 2023. Bookings extend through 2026.

“There are some months we’re sold out,” Chris Gahl said, vice president of Visit Indy. “That’s a great problem to have.”

Sustainability, business and tourism leaders, say will be the challenge.

“Long-term compliancy is our biggest enemy,” Hueber said. “So our approaches and our institutions have to change, and we’ve got to become more global.”

This year Hueber said the chamber will roll out new initiatives to help Indianapolis businesses better export products.

Beyond business, tourism leaders say perception needs some work.

“We continue to hear from meeting decision-makers that Indianapolis has a perceived panhandling issue,” Gahl said, who wants to strengthen the city’s ordinance. “There are a number of people who are professional panhandlers who are aggressively approaching our visitors and making them feel unsafe.”

Visit Indy has announced a tourism master plan, building a roadmap for 2020and beyond as tourism and business leaders look to keep the good news moving forward.

“That’s part of the idea,” Gahl said. “To make sure we’re looking short-term and long-term.”

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