FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Visit Fort Wayne announced a new plan Monday geared toward attracting more tourism to Allen County.

The initiative includes building a 10-year roadmap to define tourism-based economic growth and development that will contribute to a healthy community and high quality of life for residents, according to Visit Fort Wayne.

Jill Boggs, President and CEO of Visit Fort Wayne, said tourism is big business in Allen County. Boggs said the latest economic impact numbers show 6.5 million visitors a year, spending $741.6 million in Allen County. That saves each Allen County household $480 a year in taxes to maintain the same level of government services.

“So to not have a tourism master plan that directs us in developing future assets as well as improving our current tourism assets to remain competitive in the visitor spending economy is not an option,” Boggs said. “So several of us came together, and we feel a tourism master plan is necessary to drive a lot of community development which is big right now.

Visit Fort Wayne has entered a contract with Conventions, Sports & Leisure (CSL0 International), an advisory and planning firm, to research and build the new Tourism Master Plan through a 20-week process.

The plan will be a partnership between Visit Fort Wayne, Allen County Government, Capital Improvement Board, City of Fort Wayne, and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Officials involved say the goal of this plan is to create a long term vision that will help guide activities and operations for resources for Fort Wayne and Allen County.

“We have a saying: ‘what’s good for the resident is always good for the visitor,’ but the opposite is not the same, so the same with our plan, residents are priority quality place development, but they want some answers and we didn’t have them, so we need to get them,” Boggs said.

Boggs said it’s important to keep people coming here for exposure and economic impact.

“Maybe they’ll move here, maybe they’ll work here, maybe they’ll start a business here. As the marketing arm of our destination, we’re helping our economic development partners.”

Boggs said they are hoping to have the plan ready and completed by May or June. To keep up with updates throughout the process, click here.