Columbus — Destiny Bryson, executive director of the Highland County Visitors Bureau, and board members Tim Koehl and Phil Clyburn, joined colleagues from across the state on recently for the 2017 Ohio Tourism Legislative Day.
The day is designed to provide an opportunity for participants to meet with their individual elected representatives and talk tourism. It is a great time to discuss local tourism issues. This year participants also asked legislators to support a funding increase for Tourism Ohio and asked them to consider legislation dealing with online travel hotel booking sites which would require them to remit their fair share of Ohio taxes. During the meetings, legislators learned that tourism sales in Ohio topped 43 billion dollars in 2016 and that travelers’ spending supported 427,000 jobs last year. The day was a collaboration of the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, the Ohio Travel Association and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association.
The groups also co-hosted an informational luncheon for legislators in the Statehouse Atrium. During the luncheon, Senator Randy Gardner welcomed his colleagues and reiterated his support for the tourism industry. David Gilbert, president and CEO of both Destination Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, explained how tourism dollars support communities and hundreds of thousands of jobs in Ohio. And Pete Fierle, vice president of Communications for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, updated legislators on the Johnson Controls Pro Football Hall of Fame Village and the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium projects which, when completed, are expected to draw football fans from around the world.
“I want to thank both Speaker Rosenberger, Senator Petersen and their staff for meeting with us to discuss the economic impact of tourism in their districts” said Bryson.
As executive director, Bryson is a member of the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau. She attends quarterly meetings and special events held throughout the state. OACVB is a statewide organization serving visitors bureaus throughout Ohio helping them to maximize the economic impact of tourism via effective communication, cooperative marketing, industry education, legislative awareness, issue management, trend identification and professional development.
Following the Ohio Tourism Legislative Day, on Wednesday, May 10, Bryson, Visitors Bureau of Highland County Board President Tom Horst, and his wife Margaret, hosted an informational booth on the statehouse lawn. Highland County was selected by the Tourism Ohio agency as a destination to be featured for the Tourism Ohio Day at the Statehouse.
“We passed out over 200 visitor guides to folks interested in traveling to Highland County. Our display included vintage camping gear provided by Old Days Vintage Camping, LTD and was a big draw to the Columbus downtown working crowd. Visitors to the booth inquired about overnight accommodations, Rocky Fork Lake, Paint Creek, and the Festival of the Bells” said Tom Horst.
“While measuring the impact of tourism spending remains a difficult task, in 2015 Ohio tourism spending generated $49.7 billion in total sales. Of that $49.7 billion, Highland County contributed $47.1 million. This placed Highland County in the lower middle quintile in comparison to the other 87 counties in the state. While Highland County’s contribution is comparable to our neighboring counties, we believe there is potential to rise in the ranks. By fulfilling our mission to promote, educate, and market the attractions and activities in our region, Highland County has a real opportunity to increase our share of the tourism spending” said Bryson.
The Visitors Bureau of Highland County can reached by phone at 937-763-7012 or by email at [email protected]
Submitted by Destiny Bryson, Visitors Bureau of Highland County.