MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau hosted local and state tourism experts Friday to share what they are doing to attract visitors to Ohio and the Miami Valley.
The state of Ohio’s “Find It Here” campaign is in its second year and recently rolled out its spring and summer commercials and advertising within Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Approximately 75 local and regional officials, business owners and community leaders attended the event held at the Fort Piqua Plaza Hotel on Friday morning.
Matt MacLaren, director of TourismOhio, shared how the office is working with businesses and attractions large and small to increase the $43 billion tourism industry in the state.
“From the smallest mom and pop shop to the largest hotels in the state of Ohio, you are creating jobs, creating revenue — Miami County marketing themselves is part of that as well,” he said.
Following the presentation of Ohio’s new spring and summer commercial, MacLaren said, “Happiness, joy, excitement. Ohio. Find it here.”
MacLaren said the department will be focusing its advertising efforts in Indiana and West Virginia to draw regional visitors to the Buckeye state.
MacLaren playfully noted that now Ohio will also be playing its “Find It Here,” Ohio ad campaign up north as well to match Michigan’s “Pure Michigan” campaign.
MacLaren touted 2018 as the “Year of the Trail” noting the Butler County’s unique “Donut Trail” and other “fanatic trails” it hopes to market to Ohioans and visitors around the country.
MacLaren shared how business owners and community leaders could help “sell their experience” using social media, photography to create “meaningful connections” to draw visitors to their locations and destinations.
According to TourismOhio’s statistics, 212 million visitors chose Ohio locations to eat, dine, stay and play, an increase of 12 percent from 2012 numbers.
Those 212 million tourists spent $43 billion — a 20 percent increase from 2012 — and employ 427,000 people in Ohio in the tourism industry.
MacLaren told the crowd they each had a role to play in the employment of those tourist industry jobs.
MacLaren encouraged those in attendance to take advantage of the TourismOhio guide, including adding on to the list of 843 events listed on its website.
MacLaren also highlighted how Ohio is one of several areas that has the four distinct seasons and communities should take advantage of the seasons, noting that Christmas light displays and its visitors have jumped in popularity around the state.
Great Miami Riverway
Elizabeth Connor also presented her work as the leader of the Great Miami Riverway, which focuses on tourism and recreational opportunities up and down the 99-mile river trail from Sidney to Hamilton.
Connor said how the Great Miami Riverway’s goal was to increase use of the recreational trail to attract and connect people to historical and cultural assets up and down the river corridor. Connor said the Great Riverway is in the process of updating its website, which will include maps and guides to help with new or seasoned veterans of river exploration.
Connor shared how a new informational kiosk will be located at Treasure Island and Lock 9 in Piqua as well as dozens of other places up and down the river trail.
For more information, visit www.greatmiamiriverway.com.