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Small budget hurts Indiana tourism efforts

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's new tourism director is working to overcome a shoestring budget and encourage more people to explore all the state has to offer.

Mark Newman took over as head of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development in late 2012. He says he wants to change how the state promotes its attractions and develop a new tourism slogan more focused on rural areas.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports the office's budget has fallen from $3.9 million to less than $2 million since 2009. Michigan spends $27.4 million on its Pure Michigan ad campaign, and Illinois spends more than twice that.

Newman isn't daunted by the challenges.

He hopes a plan to generate revenue for the office sends a message to lawmakers about tourism's importance to the state's economy.

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