When thinking about tourist destinations, Ohio may not immediately come to mind. But tourism is big business in Ohio and its growing. According to a report released by TourismOhio, Ohio has been seeing a steady rise in the number of visitors in the last five years. In 2015, the state welcomed more than 207 million visitors, a healthy 14.4 percent increase since 2011. This has propelled Ohio tourism into a $42 billion industry.
“The rise in tourism has helped to significantly improve economic conditions throughout the state,” noted Victor J. Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. In fact, tourism-related jobs make up significant numbers in Ohio’s job market. Research shows that there is one tourism-related job for every 13 salaried jobs in Ohio, says Christine Pleva, Lima/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director. For instance, in 2014, there were 412,000 tourism related jobs and now, there are 420,000 jobs, based on a survey conducted by TourismOhio.
So what’s driving these impressive tourism numbers? It’s a combination of in-state travelers, corporate meetings and conventions as well as visitors from nearby states. There are also a number of highly rated attractions in Ohio that visitors want to see. The incredibly popular Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in downtown Cleveland is a top draw. And visitors from around the world come to ride some of the world’s tallest and thrilling roller coasters at Cedar Point.
Ohio also boasts a number of highly rated museums including Cincinnati Museum Center, which is located in a historic 1930s art deco building, and the world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art, which was founded in 1916. Other places like Fountain Square (Cincinnati), Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Wright Brothers National Memorial, Stan Hywet Hall and Garden, and Hocking Hills State Park are also contributing to the rise in tourism.
Ohio visitors are big spenders. As an example, the roughly 20 percent of visitors who stay in Ohio on an overnight trip will spend $354 on average during their stay. Also, a recent TourismOhio survey discovered that over 70 percent of visitors are spending their money on “experiences” rather than on souvenirs.
In 2015, TourismOhio unveiled its new “Ohio. Find it here.” logo and slogan as part of its branding Ohio as a top tourist destination. Approximately, $6 million will be spent in 2016 to increase in-state tourism as well as attract visitors from nearby states.
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