INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s tourism agency, armed with a dwindling budget, is offering summer travel deals — but only to those who follow the agency through e-mail and on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who oversees the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, began “Visit Indiana Week” on Friday at White River State Park by announcing discounts on local attractions for social media followers. The agency will announce new discounts online every day through next Friday.
The promotion comes after lawmakers last year slashed the state’s contribution to the agency from $4.8 million to $2.4 million. This year about $2 million will be spent on tourism, with the rest saved in an emergency fund.
Tourism contributes about $10 billion a year to the state economy and employs more than 260,000 people. With less money for radio and television advertising, the agency has turned to the Internet for a cost-effective way to draw summer tourists.
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