The Visitor’s Bureau of Highland County is currently planning activities for those residing in and wanting to visit Highland County. Some preliminary plans highlight things to do outdoors, family activities or Amish places to visit, but nothing has been finalized yet said Jamie Wheeler, the bureau’s executive director.
“I would say we’re working on that right now, kind of doing a reorganization of everything… We’ll still highlight all the great things that we have here, just kinda take a different spin on it and kinda hope people come and spend the day here or spend a couple days here,” Wheeler said.
While Wheeler has only been in the position for a couple of months, she said because of the lodging tax the county received, she knows lodging has been hit considerably. Wheeler said she has also heard from business and tourism locations that have been hurt because there haven’t been a lot of people frequenting them.
Wheeler said that during an online seminar with Find It Here Ohio, she heard that 47 percent of consumers plan to take their first trip of the year in March through August of 2021.
“So basically, people are kind of waiting to see how the pandemic is gonna play out but are hoping, you know, March through August they can get back out and go places,” Wheeler said.
While people are waiting for that time, Wheeler said outdoor activities haven’t been as affected as other areas by the pandemic. While she said it still isn’t up to where it was prepandemic, she said she is hearing throughout the state that “people do want to get out and visit the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, camping, fishing, that kind of stuff.”
Wheeler said places that will continue to be limited by COVID-19 include events like festivals that would require social distancing. She also said that a year after local festivals were cancelled, she’s not sure what will happen with them this year.
She said some businesses have been more impacted by the virus than others.
“Anything we can do to get people to come to Highland County and spend dollars in any of our businesses — food, shopping, what have you — is a win for everybody,” Wheeler said.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.