By Caleigh Byrer
WARSAW — Kosciusko County Convention Visitors Bureau and Visitors Center expects to see leisure travel numbers for 2023 near those recorded in 2022, the peak of post-COVID tourism.
The year 2022 was aptly deemed, “the year of revenge travel” by Destination Analysts, a nationwide marketing research company the CVB utilizes. The term revenge travel arose when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the nation saw a spike in the number of individuals traveling.
CVB Director Cori Humes noted Kosciusko County was no exception to the revenge travel surge last year as the county saw record numbers of leisure travelers and visitors.
Humes claimed out of all the data the CVB collects and analyzes, leisure travel is the most difficult to track. The CVB collects information from local surveys, hotels, restaurants and attractions to monitor the number of individuals traveling and roughly how much they spend during their time in the county.
“We have so many great things and attractions in Kosciusko County, the CVB is dedicated to bringing in those visitors and getting residents out to appreciate them,” Humes stated.
For the upcoming year, inflation may be a factor in how conservative travelers are with their budgets and how far they are willing to travel.
To combat monetary concerns, the CVB created an initiative to incentivize the community and visitors to take advantage of the free opportunities the county has to offer.
The Engage Kosciusko free digital passport program gives participants a chance to win a variety of prizes just through visiting local trails, public art and landmarks around the county.
The CVB has also created a visitors guide for county residents and travelers alike that highlights the various restaurants, hotels, trails, lakes and other attractions.
Physical copies of the visitors guide are in the Visitors Center and it’s also online.
“We do digital guide every year, its meant to be a one-stop-shop, all-in-one place to find local dining, shopping, hiking/biking, etc.,” said Humes, “it helps promote smaller local businesses as well.”
Humes noted April through September is typically when travel in the county is at its height, and the CVB expects to see traffic through the county begin to pick up during that time this year as well.
“We at the CVB are really excited for another great year of tourism,” Humes stated. “We are so grateful for all of our partnerships and for our community.”