Southern Indiana is known as SoIN. This region surprises tour operators with its art-filled downtowns, rolling hills, Ohio River experiences, and centuries of history. We spoke with Todd Read from SoIN Tourism about the area, just north of the Ohio River.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your role at SoIN Tourism.
A. I am the trade and consumer sales manager for SoIN Tourism. I primarily work within the group tour market, but also cover the sports and meetings markets. Additionally, I oversee our Visitor Services operations.
The best part of the job is “selling” my home to potential visitors to our area. I was born and raised in SoIN, and I think it is an absolutely wonderful place to live and play. I take a lot of pride in being from SoIN. I love getting positive reviews from tour operators after they visit.
Q. How would you describe your region to someone who has never visited before?
A. The best description of SoIN to someone who hasn’t been here before is summed up in the phrase: “Where Hoosier Hospitality meets Southern Charm.” While not technically part of the “South,” Southern Indiana sits on the northern border of the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky. We are a unique location that blends both rural charm and city living while being a handful of minutes from a booming metropolitan area.
Q. What makes SoIN a great place for group tours?
A. Group tours thrive in SoIN because we have a variety of experiences to choose from. Does your group want a more laid-back tour of family farms and wineries? You can visit a winery with a patio that features live music weekends, and homestyle meals at a family farm with a nearby lake.
If your group wants shopping and dining in thriving downtowns with an exploding culinary scene? We have two historic downtowns filled with boutiques and restaurants with delicious food served with that famed Hoosier Hospitality.
Does your group love historic locations unlike any other? We have steamboat-era history, Underground Railroad sites, and a spot on the National Lewis & Clark Heritage Trail. SoIN can provide an excellent, unforgettable experience while meeting the needs of your group.
Q. The Ohio River holds a big place in history. How and where can groups discover and connect with that history?
A. From the Falls of the Ohio State Park and Interpretive Center to the Howard Steamboat Museum, visitors to SoIN will learn how the only natural obstruction to the Ohio River, a 390-million-year-old exposed Devonian era fossil bed, caused and created the development of cities along the river and the historic achievements that followed. Visitors can walk in the paths of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark while embarking on perhaps the greatest overland expedition. And fun fact: more steamboats were built on Southern Indiana’s Ohio River shoreline than in any single location in the United States. Combine these historic facts to the emerging history of SoIN as a major crossing point of the Underground Railroad, and your groups will find a history they’ve probably never heard of
Q. How does SoIN Tourism help tour operators plan their group tours?
A. SoIN Tourism is happy to assist any tour operator in the planning and execution of a trip to SoIN. I enjoy writing itineraries that make full use of your time in SoIN. We know the area and we are here to provide you with the best services possible. Step-on guide services are also available for your group tour.
Q. Is there anything else tour operators should know about SoIN?
A. Let us surprise you! I have yet to have a group tour to SoIN that has not told me that they wished they had more time allotted for extra days in our region. Once you get a taste of all we have to offer, I’m positive you’ll want to come back for more!