Governor names first CEO of state’s new tourism department

By Brynna Sentel

INDIANAPOLIS—Gov. Eric Holcomb appointed the first head of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) that will replace the Department of Tourism Development.

Elaine Bedel will serve as secretary and CEO of the new corporation alongside Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who was also appointed by Holcomb to a seven-member board along with five members of the private sector tourism industry, and the president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) or its designee.

Elaine Bedel will serve as secretary and CEO of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation. Provided photo

“Elaine will excel as Indiana’s first chief destination officer to bring our public and private sectors together to best tell Indiana’s story,” Holcomb said. “In her new role, Elaine will work collaboratively to develop marketing strategies that will enhance economic development, attract new talent to our workforce and enhance our state’s profile as a great destination for visitors.”

Bedel currently serves as president of IEDC and will take over the position the new position starting next July 1, with the goal of elevating Indiana’s position as place to live and visit.

Indiana budgeted a little more than $4 million a year on the tourism department plus about $970,000 for marketing when the legislation was passed in the 2019 session of the General Assembly.

“Elaine brings a remarkable breadth of experience from both the public and private sectors, and will be a tremendous asset to our organization, industry partners, and the visitors we serve every day,” Crouch said.

The corporation will operate as a joint public-private agency and will be able to raise its own funds, which will reduce the need of state funding and increase the competition aspect.

“Through her work with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Elaine Bedel has a passion for putting Indiana on the map,” said Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, author of the legislation creating the IDDC, in a press release. “There is no doubt she will bring her wealth of knowledge and expertise to this new position to help push boost tourism and our economy.”

Prior to serving as president of IEDC, Bedel earned her bachelor’s degree from Hanover College, her MBA from Butler University, authored a personal finance book, became a nationally recognized speaker, and served as president, chief executive officer and chief compliance officer of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc., which she founded in 1989.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, praised her appointment in a press release, saying she will be an excellent fit at the IDDC.

“This new agency will spark synergies between the public and private sectors to keep Indiana in the spotlight,” Bosma said, “and I look forward to seeing the results of their collaboration.”

Brynna Sentel is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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