Jet Setting Hoosiers

Pack your bags, we’re going to Vegas! Or maybe a Caribbean cruise is more your style.

Those are the top domestic and international destinations Hoosier travelers are booking for the rest of 2009, according to a Travel Leaders survey. The travel agency network surveyed some of its agents and owners throughout the state.

Other notable findings in the 2009 fall travel trends survey:

  • 65.6% of Indiana travelers are making U.S. travel reservations four weeks or less from the planned departure date
  • 93.7% of respondents said clients are cutting back on some aspect of travel (such as shortening length of trip)
  • Other top destinations domestically are: Orlando (ranked No. 2), Tampa/St. Petersburg (3) and Chicago and Dallas (tied at No. 4)
  • Hoosiers traveling internationally are heading to: Cancun, Mexico (No. 2); Mediterranean cruises (3); Montego Bay, Jamaica (4); and Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Riviera Maya, Mexico; and Shanghai, China (all tied for No. 5)
  • Still, 90.6% of Indiana Travel Leader respondents say overall travel bookings are lower than at this time in 2008 

Compare these findings to the national travel trends.

Making a Safe Bet Against Gaming Reversal

Those who know me are aware that I’m not averse to a little "gaming" now and then. In other words, I truly enjoy an annual trip or two to Las Vegas and I’ve managed to find all but one or two of Indiana’s various riverboat/horse track facilities.

The intention is not to start a debate on the morality of gambling. (If you wish to do so, have at it). My reasoning is to point out that I would be shut out of any such activity in Illinois, if professor John Warren Kindt had his way.

The Urbana-Champaign prof testified before state lawmakers that the key to the state’s economic recovery is to ban gambling. That is despite the state’s $1.3 billion in casino tax and lottery revenue in 2008.

It’s not going to happen in Illinois — or Indiana. The "will we have gambling or not?" argument was settled about 20 years ago. Indiana is a big player in the gaming business. Despite numerous calls from lawmakers and others for no further expansion, don’t bet on it.

By the way, I was a winner picking against the professor’s Illini in its NCAA basketball tournament first-round loss to Western Kentucky.