EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – With just over one year until the 2024 total solar eclipse, businesses and organizations are moving forward with their plans to make the most out of the experience. In 2017, Evansville experienced a partial solar eclipse. But on April 8, 2024, the city will be in darkness for 3 minutes. With hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to travel to Indiana, the local travel and tourism industry is making plans to make this a weekend full of eclipse-related activities.

“We’re hoping to work to capitalize that business sooner rather than later,” says Alexis Berggren, President and CEO of Visit Evansville.

Berggren led a roundtable meeting with officials from the travel and tourism industry, as well as education and public safety, to highlight early plans and timelines for the 2024 eclipse.

“We’re looking to kind of mobilize that business community,” explains Berggren, “get all that information organized so then we can publicize it and make Evansville, and the Evansville-region, a spot where people just really want to come and experience before the eclipse.”

Officials are discussing the possibility of festivities along the Evansville riverfront, possible concerts and expert speakers leading up to the event. Mitch Luman, Director of Science Experiences with the Evansville Museum, has been planning for the past 3 years and will open a special Eclipse Exhibition at the museum this August.

“You’ll be able to learn about the past history of eclipses, what to expect, where to go, and how to watch the eclipse,” explains Luman.

Local hotels say they have already received interest from travel groups across the country. Berggren says less people are expected to drive to view the 2024 eclipse as path of totality will pass over areas with a population of 32 million, compared to 12 million in 2017.

“We know we will still see an influx of visitors, and right now, greatamericaneclipse.com is forecasting that Indiana will see between 145,000 on the low end and over 550,000 on the high end,” says Berggren.

The total solar eclipse speaks to both economics and education, as Luman says students will experience a textbook science lesson right before their eyes.

“Even though eclipses are rare,” explains Luman, “you can travel around the world to see them, but this is an opportunity where you don’t have to do that where this is right in your own backyard.”