Dubois County Tourism On the Rise

The Huntingburg Common Council and Utility Board met on Tuesday night to hear about some exciting progress being made in Dubois County tourism. 

Huntingburg Mayor Neil Elkins began the evening by introducing Whitney Lubbers, Executive Director of the Dubois County Visitors Center and Tourism Commission. Lubbers provided the board with a tourism overview and the center’s most recent economic impact report, which is received annually through an outside agency and reflects the most current numbers as of 2022. Dubois County is ranked 14 out of 92, per capita, with a tourism spending growth of over 16 percent. The data shows that when a visitor comes to the area, they are likely to return 4 times within the next 2 years. Lubbers expressed her excitement that the tourism surge during events surrounding the total eclipse allowed Dubois County to capture a greater pool of first-time visitors. 

Lubbers explained that the decision to relocate the Dubois County Visitors Center, in her opinion, has been showing results. She said that the new location close to Jasper’s downtown allows for greater foot traffic. The office is actively looking for ways to build on the visitor experience and provide more opportunities for walk-in guests. The annually-created visitors guide has a print run of 70,000 guides, and the goal is to distribute all of these copies. These will be provided to walk-in visitors, will be provided to local tourism centers and kept replenished, and are also found at local markets, eateries, and hotels. Marketing is being done online as well as in person through visits to golf shows, boat shows, car shows, and motor coach marketplaces to build group traffic. The office is also beginning translation of future marketing materials to accommodate Spanish-speaking visitors in order to provide a more inclusive tourism experience. 

Lubbers told the board that the Visitors Center also serves as a resource for new events and new projects in the community. She noted that the lack of a sport commission, which hampered the ability to produce and insure sporting events, led to the formation of DC Multisport out of their office with its own board. Events now include the Heartland Half Marathon, the Parkland 6-hour Endurance Relay, pickleball tournaments, hikes, the Strassenfest Bike Ride, and the Fun Run. All events have a charitable component, with all proceeds going toward charity and ten percent going into an endowment to fund future charities. Last year saw the milestone of reaching over $200,000 in charitable contributions. Some highlighted items in Dubois County included the 20 th anniversary of ROJAC, the 2023 Senior LPGA Championship at Sultan’s Run, downtown Jasper Revitalization, League Stadium events including the Big League Baseball Classic and the addition of the Peaches Bar with the DC Bombers, the development of an Arts Loop, and the construction of Jasper’s new Wellness Center. Lubbers expressed her enthusiasm for the initiatives that her office is currently implementing to sustain the continued growth of tourism for Dubois County and to build partnerships within the community. 

For more information on these and other updates, visit www.huntingburg-in.gov

 - By Drew Hasselbring