Sandusky County

Talking tourism in Columbus

Locals take part in statewide Legislative Day

Submitted by Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau

COLUMBUS — Executive Director Peggy Courtney and sales and promotions specialist Brenda Havens from the Sandusky County Convention and Visitors Bureau, who are members of the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, joined colleagues from across the state on May 23 for the 2018 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 informed legislators of the importance of funding TourismOhio, the destination marketing organization for the state, at a level that allows us to be competitive with neighboring states. They were also asked to support a measure that would set up grants for major sports events. This is needed so that Ohio can compete for large-scale events such as All-Star Games, drafts or the NCAA final four. These types of events bring many visitors, visitor spending and positive media coverage to the Buckeye State. Legislators also learned that tourism sales in Ohio topped $44 billion in 2017 and that travelers’ spending supported 428,000 jobs last year.

During a morning breakfast meeting, attendees had a briefing on the issues important to the tourism industry from the directors of the Ohio Travel Association, the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association and the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. Following the legislative visits, a reception was held at the Capital Club for lawmakers, staff members and tourism professionals where more talks about tourism issues took place.

“Peggy and I always enjoy visiting with our representatives in Columbus. We truly appreciate their support of our industry and interest in what is happening in Sandusky County,” said Havens.

While in Columbus, the local duo met with Ohio State Reps. Bill Reineke (District 88) and Steve Arndt (District 89) and Ohio State Sens. Dave Burke (District 26) and Randy Gardner (District 2). They discussed state tourism issues as well as informed them of what has been happening in Sandusky County.

“We have been very busy at the Visitors Bureau recently. While visiting with our representatives, we discussed all that our office has been involved in lately including the second annual Fishing and Outdoors Festival on May 19 and the newest addition to our Sandusky County Historic Barn Painting Trail, the Col. Tom Henricks barn in Woodville. Our annual visit to the Statehouse provides an excellent opportunity for our representatives to see all that we do to bring tourism dollars into our community,” said Courtney.

Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus is a statewide organization serving bureaus throughout Ohio by helping them to maximize the economic impact of tourism via effective communication, industry education, legislative awareness, issue management, trend identification and professional development.

Peggy Courtney is executive director of the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 712 North St., Fremont, 800-255-8070.