Boost for St. Joseph County tourism

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Whether it is a historic mansion or pirates and vikings invading Mishawaka, tourism is alive and well in St Joseph County.

The tourism industry accounts for nearly $500 million annually and supports more than 6,000 local jobs.

This year Visit South Bend/Mishawaka and the St Joseph County Hotel/Motel tax board awarded 21 events and organizations $100,000 in marketing grants.

The grants will help permanent attractions like the center for history's Oliver Mansion to reach new audiences.

"Tourism in general across the country, people are optimistic about it," said Rob DeCleene, executive director Visit South Bend/Mishawaka. "It's a great industry, it's a clean industry, It's people coming to our community to experience the community, to spend money in the community, and then they leave. I think things in general, we can be pretty optimisitic things are looking up."

They are targeting people from major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis and Grand Rapids with their new marketing plans.

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