Transcription: Indiana Tourism Executive Director Mark Newman Talks Central and Southern Indiana

What can people expect to find in Central and Southern Indiana?

visit-indiana-2-rotMark Newman: Let's start with Southern Indiana because there are so many wonderful untold stories of Southern Indiana. I think folks are aware that Abraham Lincoln, for example, spent time in Southern Indiana near the Ohio River on the Indiana side. I think our neighboring states, Kentucky and Illinois, probably do a much better job of telling the story of his birth place in Kentucky, how he came into the legislature, and then the presidency from Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln spent the formative years of his life learning the values, qualities, and characteristics that we all value as Hoosiers, and brought those values to the white house. Those were learned here. They weren’t learned in the other states. The Lewis and Clark Expedition emanated from Clarksville, Indiana. The expedition team was selected there, Lewis and Clark met there the first time, they trained their team there before they moved on to St. Louis to pick up the provisions and begin moving west. That's an under told story of our state, but there are monuments and memorials commemorating that event because when the team came back to the east they stopped in Clarksville and they all went their separate ways from there.

We have wonderful assets in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. In Brown County and Nashville, Indiana, you have one of the finest mountain bike trail systems in North America. People come to Indiana specifically to have a mountain biking experience in one of our great state parks. They visit some other the alluring quaint river cities along the Ohio River. Madison, Indiana was once the longest main street in the United States.

It still holds beautiful qualities and characteristics of that romantic time and those ideals that we hold that is so important. It's a wonderful place to visit, and they've created assets through various festivals, fairs, and activities that continue to draw people to that quaint community. It still remains a destination for people.

Another thing that's really special in Southern Indiana is this whole notion of Farm-to-Fork, or Field-to-Fork. What few people realize about Southern Indiana, and as we progress the northward to Central and Northern Indiana, the idea of Farm-to-Fork has been done in Indiana for two hundred years.

Now that somebody is now developed a name called officially Farm-to-Fork, we were doing it when Indiana was a pioneering territory. It's not something new to us, we do it better, and we do in a more robust way than they do it anywhere else.

It's something to be proud of, and then when you move to Central Indiana in this lustrous capitol city that we now have and all of the great assets like the manufactured sport tourism economy that's been created, the great outdoor recreational capacity, and the arts and cultural capacity.

There are wonderful things that you can experience throughout Central Indiana that make a special place to go. I think it's one of those things that really surprise visitors when they come because they didn't have any experience with Indianapolis before that first visit.

I love being able to invite visitors to Indiana and have them experience our assets and destinations for the first time because they come with far fewer expectations and then have a great experience before they leave.

Then they become street-level promoters for Indiana once they departed, so it's a great opportunity for us to be able to talk about the good life here in Indiana and all the rewards that you have when you come and visit a place like our state.

Where can people find more information about Indiana Tourism?

MN: We maintain a Facebook page. We've developed a pretty strong Facebook community. We’ve also have a really strong Twitter community. When I leave here I'll be Tweeting about my experience in Valpo. The travel guide is a great way to do it. We've also developed a tablet version as well. You can download our travel app called “Travel Indiana.”

The other thing is using our website where you can actually do trip planning if you have an interest in seeing other parts in Indiana. We will actually help you construct your ideal Indiana trip. We will be on billboards, television, print, and on radio.

Our objective is to pull this blanket of the state of Indiana and truly promote this asset and everything that we have to offer in the way that it should be.