This survey was commissioned by Visit Indy, which spends tens of millions of our tax dollars each year
So the survey question is whether those surveyed agreed that Indy "welcomes all." According to the survey, 45% of the decision makers agreed with the statement while only 43% of Chicago residents agreed with the statement. The survey result dropped to 28% and 38%, respectively, when the question was broadened to include Indiana in general. While those surveyed were not asked directly about RFRA, they were asked to comment if Indianapolis had been in the news lately. supposedly 58% brought up RFRA or LGBT rights without being prompted. So Gannett uses its national newspaper chain to talk negatively about Indiana's RFRA law and LGBT rights non-stop for the past year, and it wonders why that issue would pop into minds of those surveyed. Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Gannett says that a separate survey by Smith Travel Research that Indianapolis was only second behind St. Louis for having negative publicity that might deter convention planners and travelers from visiting the city. Apparently there's no "Houston, we have a problem" after the city's voters there voted last year to repeal the city's human rights ordinance protecting its LGBT community from discrimination. The most truthful finding in the poll was the fact that the vast majority of those surveyed had a vanilla reaction to Indianapolis, another way of say it's boring. But Leonard Hoops, who earns more than a half million buck a year thanks to Indianapolis taxpayers wants to blame RFRA for the fact that he's got fewer conventions in the pipeline.
. . . Many of those surveyed had no opinion at all of Indy, reflecting past perception data showing Indy as "vanilla," Hoops said. About 70 percent of Chicago residents who hadn't visited Indy said the city either had no image or that it was boring. Among those who had visited Indy, most described it as fun but didn't recall specifics.
“With the exception of RFRA, there are no significant negative perceptions of Indy; rather there is a void,” the poll summary says.
Further muddying the waters, early indications from industry officials are that tourism was strong in 2015, with Visit Indy surpassing its goal of 775,000 hotel night bookings. But those who have seen data that's expected to be released next week say there are also troubling signs that RFRA's true impact will be felt in years to come, because of a delay in when conventions are booked.
"Jan. 1, 2016, we have less in the pipeline today than we did in '15, '14, and '13," Hoops said. "It’s better than '12, but it’s worse than the last 3 years.”
Hoops suspects his staff is competing for fewer conventions than in prior years because event planners may have crossed Indy off the list over RFRA concerns. But, he acknowledges, that's difficult to prove . . .Why won't the lying scumbags at the Indianapolis Star won't talk about is the wars playing out between the taxpayer-financed tourism agencies across the country to lure conventions to their respective cities? There is a bidding war taking place, particularly between cities like Indianapolis and Chicago which pour tens of millions of dollars into these taxpayer-funded tourism agencies to essentially bribe convention planners to come to their city. They offer discounted convention rooms. They give away free use of their convention facilities, and in some cases, actually provide direct subsidies to help underwrite a group's convention costs. That's on top of all of the wining and dining, free sports and concert tickets and other freebies they throw at key decision-makers, which would be front-page news when lobbyists use the same tactics to convince lawmakers to support their legislation at the State House. No, the Indianapolis Star and the rest of the useless news media in Indianapolis are covering up that criminal enterprise, which they actually approve of. The Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune have been doing everything they can to pry open records to show what's going on. Not here. They want the dirty secrets kept away from the public because it doesn't fit their agenda for us.