TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Officials have said that tourism in Vigo County is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels this year.

Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director David Patterson said that they could top $3 million in innkeeper tax collections by the end of the year.

Venues such as The Mill, Griffin Bike Park and the new Terre Haute Convention Center are all playing a big role in that growth. Patterson said that the more events in town means guest are filling up local hotel rooms and spending money locally.

“Anytime you’re bringing 4,000 to 5,000 people to town, typically it’s about three quarters of a million dollars of community wide impact,” Patterson said.

Amongst 20 hotels in Vigo County, there are 1,938 rooms available. The incoming casino on Terre Haute’s east side will bring a hotel with it. In addition, READI grant funds will help bring a new downtown hotel. Patterson added that both will be big additions to the area.

“We need more hotel rooms in this community,” Patterson explained. “To have one built downtown and one out on the east side.. that’s going to do nothing but help us.”

The casino is expected to be big draw, particular on the east side of Terre Haute. READI grant projects in that area will also play a big role in bringing people in which could have a positive impact on already existing businesses. Culver’s General Manager Lucy Nesbit said she’s excited about potential growth for the business.

“It’s been exciting to see the new tings that have come over here because it was pretty much kind of just land at one point,” Nesbit said.

Funds earned by the visitors bureau goes back into hosting big events. Some of those big events included cross county events at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. Patterson stated that those events can bring thousands to the county.

“That’s the trick to this whole thing is to reinvest to events that bring even more people,” Patterson said.

With the Queen of Terre Haute Casino soon to join the mix of venues that should attract guests to the county, Patterson said he expects a big future for Vigo County.

“All things being equal, I think the future years look bright,” Patterson explained.