Visit Indy: RFRA Aftermath Has Cost Indianapolis $60M (So Far)

Jan 26, 2016

Credit David and Ruth S / https://www.flickr.com/photos/existdifferently/8399061

An Indianapolis tourism group says the fallout from last year's debate over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cost the city at least $60 million.

And Visit Indy officials worry the economic impact will be long-lasting.

At least a dozen conventions cited RFRA as a reason for not choosing Indianapolis as a host city on Visit Indy’s annual survey.

Republican lawmakers have claimed the fix they passed last year would repair any damage done by the controversy.

But Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl says that remains to be seen.

“Ultimately, 2016 will be a telltale for Indianapolis tourism as we see really truly the impact unfolding into the third and fourth quarter of this year based on the lingering impact and the way people consume information and then ultimately decide whether or not they’re going to come to Indianapolis for business,” Gahl says.

Gahl says the current debate over LGBT rights is also hurting Indiana’s reputation and could ultimately cost the state more money.

Some of those bills will be debated in a Senate committee Wednesday.