Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann presented Mel Riegsecker of Riegsecker’s Marketplace with a 2014 Hoosier Hospitality Award for outstanding contributions to the tourism industry during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the Indiana State Fair. Eighteen representatives of Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry earned the 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Hoosier Hospitality Award for their high level of service in tourism-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, attractions and other destinations.
“Without today’s recipients doing their jobs in such an outstanding way, our tourism efforts would be meaningless,” said Ellspermann. “These professionals and their Hoosier Hospitality are the heart and soul of the Indiana tourism industry.”
Riegsecker has a heart for hospitality. At 72 years old, he has never met a stranger and he still loves to visit with all the guests that come to Shipshewana and Riegsecker Marketplace. He founded the Riegsecker Marketplace and today over one million guests visit each year. Riegsecker continues to be a driving force for the town of Shipshewana when it comes to tourism and his direction to over 400 employees of providing top-shelf Hoosier Hospitality has a positive impact on the community.
Nominations for Hoosier Hospitality Awards are submitted by community members and destination patrons. Nominations are reviewed and winners are selected by IOTD. Outstanding service is a major factor in determining whether a person returns to an individual business or destination. Tourism is big business in Indiana. An economic impact report released in December 2013 shows the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state (excluding government), is directly responsible for nearly 140,000 jobs, generates over $2.1 billion in tax receipts and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses. The recently-launched Honest-to-Goodness Indiana brand campaign aims to further elevate the undertold stories of Indiana’s destinations and attractions.
“A key component of Honest-to-Goodness Indiana is our state’s well-earned national reputation for Hoosier Hospitality,” said Mark Newman, executive director of IOTD. “As important as our agency and partner-bureaus are in growing the tourism trade and contributing to the financial well-being of our state, we could not succeed without the people on the frontlines who interact with visitors, guests and customers on a daily basis.”