The 2015 Ohio Conference on Tourism: Join the Conversation

Engage with colleagues and join the conversation at the 2015 Ohio Conference on Tourism where more than 500 industry members will convene to learn, network, and be inspired by the momentum of the travel industry. This year’s conference marks the largest industry gathering of its kind in Ohio, as the Ohio Travel Association partners with the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association for a Monday night gala celebrating the Ohio tourism industry.


Meet OTA's Incoming President

Eric Hansen to be Installed Nov. 18

It was a joy to interview Eric Hansen who had a lot of insight to offer on the tourism industry and OTA.


New! Bid on a Research Study Discount During the Silent Auction

Get a Discount on a Conversion and ROI Study

If a research study is part of your strategy for 2016, pay attention here! During the Ohio Conference on Tourism’s silent auction on Nov. 16, you could bid on a gift certificate to buy a research study through North Star Destination Strategies. North Star helps clients understand the depth of their target community, competition, and consumers. This information has proven to be crucial in understanding consumer perceptions, visitor spending, advertising area hotspots, and many other components of this industry. Interested attendees are encouraged to bid on a $5,000 discount off a study. The amount bid will be deducted from a full research package. This item can be invoiced. Click here to read details.


OTA Members Respond to Proposed Bill Exempting Businesses to Serve Same-Sex Marriage Couples

Members-Only Overview of Findings

In response to an Ohio bill exempting businesses from participating in same-sex ceremonies, Ohio Travel Association sought industry member input. Seventy-five percent (75%) are opposed to the legislation.


Meet OTA's Communications Manager, Chad Duplain

OTA welcomes Chad Duplain as Communications Manager. We are excited to bring his expertise in content development and visual communications to OTA and to the industry.


Tourism and Great Lakes Issues Discussed in DC this Week

OTA, Cedar Fair and the Ohio Environmental Council Team Up to Express Concern and Request Action

Making the connection on why a healthy environment is important to the travel economy was the mission this week when Ohio Travel Association joined Cedar Fair and the Ohio Environmental Council in Washington D.C. Meetings were held with Rep. Bob Latta, Rep. Bob Gibbs, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Joyce Beatty and Rep. David Joyce, as well as key staffers in the offices of Sen. Rob Portman, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. Jim Renacci, and Rep. Jim Jordan.


Yesterday's OTA Workshop with TripAdvisor and Viator was Full of Information and Ideas

The stunning Granville Inn was the site for an OTA workshop on reputation management. OTA brought in officials from both TripAdvisor and Viator (which is offering new online ticket purchasing.) Learn a bit of what we discussed and learned by reading this summary. OTA is working with both companies to bring additional training and resources to Ohio because of the importance of online reviews and to keep Ohio at the cutting edge.


Legal Efforts to Protect Integrity of Lodging Tax Successful

OTA, OACVB and OH&LA Collaborated to Stop Illegal Lodging Tax

This week, the Court of Common Pleas of Lorain County, Ohio issued a decision in favor of the travel industry and Ohio visitors, declaring that a three percent tax enacted by Avon in 2014 conflicts with the Ohio Revised Code and is illegal. The City of Avon had adopted an ordinance enacting an additional lodging tax over and above the amount it was statutorily permitted to impose. OTA joined its partners at the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association (OH&LA) and the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (OACVB) on legal action to protect the integrity of lodging tax, as well as to protect our guests. OH&LA perhaps said it best in a recent announcement, when it spoke of OTA, OH&LA and OACVB continuing to “fight for travelers and for our industry.”


Business Owners Discuss Impact of Algae Blooms

OTA Emphasizes the Need for a Solution, as this is not just a Tourism Issue

Lake Erie business owners outlined the costs of harmful algal blooms this summer at a press conference held Thursday, Oct. 8 at the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center in Port Clinton. The event was sponsored by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, whose members appear to have been impacted the most as the bloom changed fishing patterns and may have kept customers away.


TourismOhio Provides Updates, Future Plans and New Research

Advisory Board Meeting Held Sept. 29

TourismOhio held its Advisory Board meeting at Young's Jersey Dairy on Sept. 29. The agenda included a review and updates of promotional activity, DiscoverOhio.com, public relations, 2016 plans and more.


Karen Eylon Joins the OTA Team as Partnership Development Manager

OTA Welcomes this Experienced Professional to Manage Membership and Heartland Tour Operators

Karen Eylon has joined the OTA team as partnership development manager. Eylon brings more than 25 years of experience in destination marketing and management, development, communications, event operations, and sales to her new role with the Ohio Travel Association. She will be managing membership and Heartland Travel Showcase tour operator relationships, as well as contributing greatly to the association's strategy.


Five Lessons We Learned at “Budgets Are More Than Just Numbers. They’re About Ideas!”

A Summary of Some of the Items Discussed at OTA's Focus on Tourism Workshop this Week

With coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, we sat down at our tables at 10 a.m. this past Wednesday, ready to learn how to break free from budgets. Our group of experienced panelists turned the workshop into an exciting, open dialogue about taking chances, generating creativity, and creating wonderful experiences without being held back by numbers.


Looming Government Shutdown (Again) Threatens the Tourism Economy

Tell Your Federal Legislators This Just Can't Happen

If Congress doesn't pass a budget by Oct. 1, nearly $185 million is at risk as tourism is disrupted. The U.S. Travel Association is coordinating a communications strategy to notify federal legislators. Your stories and voice are needed.


Representative Proposes Ohio Law to Exempt Businesses to Serve Same Sex Marriage Couples

The Ohio Travel Association Board Wants to Hear From You

Following the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in all states, Rep. Ron Young is sponsoring a bill concerning the religious freedom of businesses in Ohio. The Ohio Travel Association board asks you to voice your opinion.


Grants Available for Building Your Nature and Heritage Market Potential

Funds Planning, Communications, and Training to Build Capacity

The National Environmental Education Foundation is funding "friends" groups and other cooperating associations who work with public lands of all kinds - local, state and federal. Deadline is Oct. 30.


A Portion of Hocking Hills State Park Considered for Conservation Value

OTA Took Action to Oppose Logging and to Support Maintaining the Integrity of this Unique Natural Area

The Spruce Run watershed within Hocking Hills State Park has massive hemlock and oak trees. ODNR recently marked the trees to be logged. Environmental groups worked to temporarily stop the logging, and ODNR is now assessing the area as a High Conservation Area.


Trail Funding available through The Sierra Club

Deadline is Sept. 30

Grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 will be awarded towards trail creation or maintenance in urban areas and in more remote areas on public lands.


Michigan Voters Support Post-Labor Day School Start

State Survey Shows 64% Support

Once again, Michigan voters have overwhelmingly spoken in favor of starting the school year after the Labor Day holiday, according to a statewide survey of 1,075 likely 2016 voters conducted by Mitchell Research & Communications August 8-10, 2015.


Meet OTA's Communications Intern

Emily McCarthy is an OSU Student Pursuing Communications Career

A senior majoring in strategic communications, Emily is also pursuing minors in professional writing and economics. After graduation, she hopes to work in corporate communications or public relations.


Resources Available to Communicate about Harmful Algal Blooms

Research and Shareable Documents Tell Our Story

To help the tourism industry communicate about the impacts of harmful algal blooms, and why immediate solutions are needed, the Ohio Travel Association has created some documents and research.


Legislative Alert: Proposed Changes to Building Code Rules Available for Comment

Comment Period Ends Aug. 28

The state has proposed changes to a multitude of building, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical codes. A summary of these rules is provided for your convenience. These rules for posted for feedback and public comment until 8/28. If your business has any issue with some of these, please forward a copy of your comments to Melinda Huntley at mhuntley@ohiotravel.org.


OTA Board Applications are Being Sought

Deadline for Applications is Aug. 30

Interested in serving the industry as a member of the Ohio Travel Association board? There is an opening in every region.


Recognize an Emerging Leader in the Ohio Tourism Industry

Nominations Close Sept. 9

The Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award honors budding tourism leaders with less than 15 years of professional experience in the industry. The 2015 Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award winner, Ally Bussey of Canton Stark County Ohio CVB, was honored Oct. 17, 2014 in Springfield, Ohio. This year's winner will be recognized Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Hilton Polaris/Columbus during the 2015 Ohio Conference on Tourism.


Ohio Conference on Tourism Registration Opens

Join Tourism Industry Colleagues for Education, Insights, and Networking

Join us Nov. 16-18 at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris for this statewide gathering of Ohio's tourism industry professionals. It's a not-to-be-missed event full of education, networking, research and fun! Early registration deals end Oct. 2.


2015 Ruby Awards Nominations are Open

Get Recognition in Your Business, Community and State for Your Creative Genius

Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 Ruby Awards. This statewide competition honors the creative genius of Ohio's travel and tourism industry.


Nominate Your Tourism Hero for the Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement in Tourism Award

Nominations are Due Aug. 27, 2015

The Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement Award in Tourism is the Ohio tourism industry's highest honor, recognizing one individual each year who exemplifies professional, personal and career excellence. Nominate a deserving industry colleague today!


Support Ohio Travel. Donate to the OTA Silent Auction.

News from Leiann Stewart, Miami County CVB

Supporting the Ohio Conference on Tourism Silent Auction is one of the best ways you can invest in our industry and your business. Not only is it a fun-filled event for attendees, but it helps support our shared mission for our industry's voice in legislative issues, provides educational programming and tools to our industry, and brings you resources for growing your business.


Resolution Proposed to Make the Case of National Heritage Area

Ohio Pathway through Space and the John H. Glenn Trail Recommended for Designation

Hoping to bring some attention to the space-related sites of Ohio, M. Sheehy (D-Oregon) and M. Stinziano (D-Columbus) introduced HR 28 to request the President and federal officials to establish the Ohio Pathway through Space National Heritage Area and the John H. Glenn Trail.


Legislation Proposed to Boost Visibility of National Park Service Sites

Insists that the "Arrowhead" appear on highway signage

Introduced by J. Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake), HB 97 requires placement of the National Park Service arrowhead logo on all state highway signs providing directions to units of the National Park Service.


National Parks Have $225 Million Economic Impact in Ohio, Support 2,700 Jobs

More than 2.4 million visitors experienced National Park Service sites in Ohio last year. During their visits, they spent $155 million in communities near each park or site.

Last week, the National Park Service released “2014 National Park Visitor Spending Effects: Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation.” This report provides a snapshot of national and site-specific spending, as well as the overall impact this spending has on local communities as the visitor dollar flows through the economy.

Spending by visitors to Ohio’s NPS units supported 2,700 jobs in 2014. Total economic impact of these sites on the Ohio economy is $225 million when adding the business-to-business sales for goods and services that occur in addition to the direct visitor spending.


Ohio Sites Being Considered for UNESCO World Heritage Designation

George Papagiannis from UNESCO toured Ohio in mid-April, speaking in several communities about the World Heritage designation process. Hosted by the Ohio History Connection, Papagiannis said it can take three to four years for a site to move from the tentative list to coming before the World Heritage Committee, which ultimately is responsible for making the decision on whether a site is deemed appropriate for World Heritage Status. Ohio History Connection also sat down with Papagiannis for an in-depth interview.


Traveler Tribes Identified for 2030

Forecasting Travel in the Future; Planning for Change Today

Thinking about how travel will change 15 years from now is difficult stuff. How will technology change the way our travelers seek out, book and experience travel? How will population growth, multiculturalism and an aging population create change?


TourismOhio Selects Brand Architecture, Media Planning Agencies

Cult Marketing and Marcus Thomas leaders address TourismOhio Advisory Council meeting

Last week, TourismOhio announced the selection of Cult Marketing and Marcus Thomas LLC to lead the development of brand architecture and media strategy, respectively. Both agencies have Ohio roots and experience developing campaigns for large corporate clients. Cult Marketing has worked with Rocky Boots, Bath & Body Works, Dublin Irish Festival, Nationwide Insurance, and Scotts. Marcus Thomas' clients include Akron Children's Hospital, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Dutch Boy, and Nestle.


Trails and Tourism

What's the Connection?

After speaking at two regional trails conferences over the last few weeks, we share our thoughts on the economic opportunities of trails. Included are tips for how to make your community "trail-friendly".


Branding Ohio: State launches $2 million effort to find slogan that pays off in more tourists

By: Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer

The team is in place. The work is under way. The goal: Take the many diverse parts of the state -- big cities, small towns, vast farmlands, a Great Lake -- and capture all of it in a single brand.

Posted by Ohio Travel Association on Friday, March 27, 2015


Ohio Visitors Don't Know County Lines

Melissa Topey, Sandusky Register


TourismOhio Taps Marcus Thomas, Cult Marketing for Creative and Media Services

Laura Nichols, PR Week


Ohio Travel Association Tourism Cares Scholarship Presented to Erin Holter

Established in 1991, the scholarship is presented to support a travel, tourism or hospitality student from Ohio

Erin Holter of North Royalton, is attending Johnson and Wales University pursuing hospitality, culinary and restaurant management. She would like to use her education to plan and create healthy, unique meals on a large scale for big events and hopes to begin her own banquet facility or event planning business.


Economic Driver, Heartland Travel Showcase, Presented in Chicago

30th Annual Group Travel Showcase Attracts National Tour Operators, Highlights Ohio Group Tour Destinations

(Chicago, IL) 2/26/15 - More than 500 destinations, tour operator companies and media partners from across America's Heartland region gathered at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago Feb 20-22. For those in attendance, the 30th annual Heartland Travel Showcase, produced by the Ohio Travel Association, was an opportunity to promote group travel itineraries, develop professional relationships, and learn about the group tour market.


Ohio Travel Industry Professional Development Study Shared at OTA Regional Meetings

More than 85 industry representatives shared ideas and thoughts

Last fall, the Ohio Travel Association partnered with Ohio State University to explore the professional development and education needs of our industry. Before the report is finalized and distributed, OTA reached out to the industry at regional meetings throughout Ohio.


Grant Funds Available for Historic Markers

William G. Pomeroy Foundation Supporting Heritage and Tourism

The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is now offering grants for Ohio Historical Markers and Ohio Corporate Limit Markers in Erie, Huron, and Seneca counties.


A Perfect Pairing: Craft Breweries and Ohio's Travel Industry

Presentation Given at Ohio Craft Brewery Association Conference in Wooster

Craft Brewers

Speaking before craft brewery business owners and managers is a great opportunity to generate ideas for boosting their business and enhancing the brewery experience in Ohio. OTA Director Melinda Huntley discusses what travelers are seeking, how craft breweries provide the experiences they're seeking, and how to connect to the travel industry.


Assistance to Grow Your Business is Available

Ohio Development Services Agency Director and TourismOhio Chief Share Information on Industry Conference Call

2/3/15 (Columbus) - DSA Director David Goodman and TourismOhio Chief Mary Cusick discussed programs and services available to help Ohio's tourism businesses during a conference call, Feb. 3, 2015.


Opportunities for Leveraging Ohio's Great Outdoors

New Report Shares Findings of Recent Studies and Conversations with Ohio's Tourism Businesses

The Ohio Travel Association and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources collaborated on regional meetings in late 2013 to discuss opportunities and challenges for promoting and developing nature tourism experiences. This report shares these findings, as well as recent studies.


Ohio Travel Industry Gets Up Close and Personal with Outdoor Recreation Resources

OTA and ODNR Team Up for Tourism Day at the Ohio State Fair


Statehood Day: Ohio’s Past and Ohio’s Future

3/4/14 (Columbus)-Representatives of Ohio's historical sites and business community (including several from the tourism industry) gathered at the Ohio Statehouse on Feb. 27 for the 2014 Statehood Day hosted by the Ohio Historical Society, Heritage Ohio, and Preservation Ohio. Statehood Day is an opportunity for attendees to meet with legislators on important history related topics. The 2014 event emphasized the... Read More>>


Proposed Regulations Target Ohio's $220 Million Recreational Hunting Industry, 550,000 Hunters

3/4/14 (Columbus) -Over half million Ohio hunters may be impacted by recently proposed changes to ODNR regulations, including increased permit fees, county-by-county bag limits, and relaxed rifle restrictions. The Division of Wildlife just held a series of public meetings to gather comments about the new regulations. Added cost may be a factor for some hunters during the 2014-15 season if new rules take effect, particularly a planned increase to Read More>>






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