From Vision to Vibrancy: Leonard Hoops is Transforming Indianapolis into a Tourism Powerhouse

Join us for an inspiring episode as we dive into the fascinating journey of turning a city's vision into a vibrant reality. In this episode, we sit down with Leonard Hoops, the visionary leader behind the transformation of Indianapolis into a tourism hotspot.


Back in 2014, Indianapolis unveiled an ambitious tourism masterplan, drawing inspiration from the likes of Vancouver. Hoops takes us through the challenges and triumphs of sustaining this plan beyond its launch. We explore the creation of a Vice President of Destination Development role, designed to collaborate with economic development and partnerships, which paved the way for dynamic growth.

In 2019, a pivotal moment arrived with hiring of a Deputy of Destination Development. This strategic addition enabled seamless coordination among for-profit developers, governmental entities, and resident sentiment. Hoops shares valuable insights about navigating through changes in local leadership, particularly emphasizing how they introduced a "Vision 2.0" concept alongside a new mayor.

Our guest shares a remarkable journey from a journalism undergrad with dreams of sports reporting to becoming a key figure in destination development. The episode is rich with personal anecdotes, including the joy of approval for a massive convention center expansion and headquarters hotel and overcoming challenges such as the 2015 religious freedom act.

Discover how Indianapolis, known as a sports city, leverages its strategic downtown infrastructure to host significant events seamlessly. The upcoming NBA All-Star Game, March Madness, and the USA Olympic swimming trials are just a few examples of the city's prowess.

Mr. Hoops also imparts wisdom for aspiring leaders, sharing the three P's that guide his candidate evaluation process - Productivity, Positive Energy, and a Progressive mindset. He emphasizes the importance of innovation and collaboration in a team.

Beyond the professional sphere, Leonard opens up about his family, particularly his wife's transformative journey to support their son with cerebral palsy. Despite challenges, the heartwarming account of bonding with his son over shared interests adds a deeply personal touch to the conversation.

As the episode unfolds, listeners gain insights into Indianapolis' plans, including groundbreaking projects and exciting events. Mark your calendars for a solar eclipse event that promises a citywide blackout and an anticipated visit by a renowned figure. Hoops rounds off the episode with insider tips for first-time visitors to Indianapolis, offering a three-day itinerary packed with local culture, history, and culinary delights.

Tune in to this episode for an inspiring story of leadership, transformation, and the power of community collaboration in making a city's tourism vision come to life.

Business Class is brought to you by The Tourism Academy - harnessing the power of science, business psychology and adult education to advance the tourism industry and build sustainable economies. Learn how to engage your community, win over stakeholders and get more visitors at

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