The Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting is among the destinations near the Indiana Toll Road being promoted by a partnership among the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, other northern Indiana tourism bureaus and the Toll Road's operator. Staff photo by John J. Watkins
The Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting is among the destinations near the Indiana Toll Road being promoted by a partnership among the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, other northern Indiana tourism bureaus and the Toll Road's operator. Staff photo by John J. Watkins
The Indiana Toll Road, South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and other northern Indiana counties organizations have joined to promote tourism and economic development along Interstate 80/90.

Videos and still images highlighting area destinations and things to do are featured at the Indiana Toll Road travel plazas on TV screens. Information about destinations at nine Toll Road exits are available at along8090.com. The campaign is an effort to present a cohesive brand featuring destinations from Lake County to Steuben County.

“The partnership is a natural fit to showcase the brand-new Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, lakefront casinos, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, University of Notre Dame, Studebaker National Museum and Pokagon State Park, among others along the route,” South Shore CVA President and CEO Speros Batistatos said.

The Indiana Toll Road Concession Co., which operates the 157-mile highway, recently completed a $70 million travel plaza project that included the demolition and rehabilitation of eight plaza buildings along I-80/90.

Toll Road Communications Manager Bill McCall said the visuals will “complete the look of the newly renovated plazas."

"We have a long history of teaming with communities and tourism organizations along the corridor,” McCall said. "This is another logical step. We're excited about it."

The effort's public partners include South Bend and LaGrange and Steuben county tourism bureaus. 

“We are pleased to partner with the Indiana Toll Road and our CVB peers to represent Northern Indiana and promote the region as an attractive destination,” Steuben County Tourism Bureau Executive Director June Julien said.

Batistatos said the marketing effort is intended to provide a "much more holistic and comprehensive look" to visitors and to potential residents and businesses. 

"This is just the first step of what we think is going to be a very long, very positive relationship," he said.

A potential partnership was first discussed publicly at the South Shore CVA's January board meeting, when Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. CEO Nic Barr presented an update on Toll Road projects. That meeting also included a presentation on the Move to Indiana campaign to draw new residents to Indiana.

"I think we're just scratching the surface of what we can do with the relationship," Barr said of the Toll Road, South Shore CVA and efforts like Move to Indiana. "Successful tourism and economic development of the corridor is always going to be helpful for our organization, and vice versa."

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