Northwest Indiana, situated on the South Shore of Lake Michigan, is a shining example of a cooperative relationship between tourism and community vitality. This region, anchored by Lake County, is known for its natural beauty, cultural richness, and vibrant experiences. 

While celebrating the reasons why people are drawn to the South Shore, it's important to take a resident-first perspective by understanding how tourism benefits the local economy, creates jobs, enhances quality of life, and promotes stewardship of the destination.

Trojan Thunder - Gary Air Show

Creating Jobs

Tourism plays a crucial role in the region's economic growth and prosperity by providing jobs for residents and stimulating workforce participation. In Lake County alone, tourism supports 16,551 jobs, which contributes to the community's resilience and stability. The South Shore has seen a significant increase in visitor spending, from $1.08 billion in 2019 to $1.24 billion in 2022, highlighting its economic importance.

Generating Tax Revenue

Tourism also generates substantial tax revenue, totaling $131 million in state and local taxes in 2022, which provides critical funding for public services, infrastructure projects, and community development initiatives. This alleviates the tax burden on residents, allowing for investment in essential services such as education, healthcare, and public safety.

Providing for Visitors

The demand for hotel accommodations has also risen, with 52,643 additional rooms generated from 2019 to 2023, indicating the need for ongoing infrastructure development. The opening of three new hotels signifies that the region is committed to providing more hospitality offerings while accommodating visitors.

Munster, Shrine, Shady Creek

Enriching Quality of Life for Residents

Apart from its economic benefits, tourism also enriches the quality of life for residents by providing access to diverse cultural, recreational, and entertainment options. The South Shore offers a range of attractions and events, including local festivals, historical sites, and outdoor adventures. These opportunities help to promote community cohesion, pride, and social engagement, contributing to residents' overall well-being and satisfaction.

Sustaining Tourism

As stewards of the destination, it's vital to protect and preserve the natural, cultural, and social aspects of where we live so that it has a positive impact on future generations. Sustainable tourism practices, such as conserving natural resources, supporting local communities, and respecting local customs and traditions, are essential.

The South Shore attracts a diverse range of visitors, including leisure, group tours, meetings, conventions, weddings, visiting friends and relatives, and sporting events. Each type of visitor contributes uniquely to the region's economic and social connections, enhancing its cultural diversity and encouraging people to share their own cultures, ideas, and experiences.

Chicagoland Popcorn Group Tour

Encouraging Resident Engagement in Tourism

Resident engagement in tourism initiatives fosters a sense of ownership and pride in the destination. By actively participating in community events, volunteering as ambassadors, or supporting local businesses, residents become integral partners in shaping the visitor experience and amplifying the region's appeal.

The South Shore remains a premier destination for visitors and a cherished home for its residents. By placing residents' needs first and focusing on infrastructure, sustainability, and resident engagement, stakeholders can harness the transformative power of tourism while preserving this region's unique identity and natural heritage.

The thriving tourism industry along the South Shore is a significant economic contributor and a source of community pride that benefits everyone who calls it home.

Visit Live Work along the South Shore