Tourism on the upswing in Adams County
By Patricia Beech –
The Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau hosted their 18th annual dinner/cookout on Friday, May 18 at Miller’s Furniture on Wheat Ridge Road in West Union. The evening also featured several speakers including TVB Director Tom Cross, TVB Board President, Jeff Huxmann, Tim Goodwin, Manager of Serpent Mound Park, and Nancy Stranahan from the Arc of Appalachia. A presentation of awards was also held honoring those who have contributed to tourism in Adams County.
“The TVB continues to move forward with projects that will enhance and create tourism, and improve visitor experience while here in Adams County,” Cross said, “We call it tourism infrastructure.”
Two tourism projects the TVB is steering forward are the construction of canoe and kayak launches on Ohio Brush Creek at the St. Rt. 125 bridge and the St. Rt. 348 twin bridges, and giving the Kirker Covered Bridge near West Union a much-needed painting and a Brown Goose quilt square. According to Cross, the quilt square is one of 20 that were lost years ago. He said work on the bridge was expected to be completed by the end of June.
According to a study by the Ohio Department of Development, tourism in Adams County increased by nearly 10 percent, more than doubling the statewide average of 4.6 percent. The 2014 report on the Economic Impact of Tourism in the county, revealed that $31.8 million in sales were generated by tourism in 2013 as well as $12.3 million in wages, and $4.5 million in state, local, and federal taxes. The findings also say that tourism activities such as recreation, retail, lodging, food, and beverage sales are a integral and driving force of Adams County’s economy employing nearly 600 people.
Lodging taxes have increased substantially – up 15 percent over 2014, 20 percent in 2013, and 37 percent over the past two years as new overnight lodgings and cabins opened for business.
The TVB’s Facebook page also evidences the county’s burgeoning tourism: “Adams County has more Facebook followers then all the neighboring counties combined,” says Cross. “The bureau’s website had 3,792 visits in the past 30 days, and views on the site have increased 22% in the past year.”
Doubtless much of the TVB’s success in drawing tourist to Adams County is due to Cross’s tireless efforts to publicize the areas appeal on local airway stations over the past four years.
Last summer the organization’s TV spots on Channel 9 won the bureau a First Place Ruby Award from the Ohio Travel Association. Additionally, the bureau’s mobile site took also took home an award.
This year with support from the Adams County Commissioners Office and The Nature Conservancy, the TVB is doing additional commercials that will air on Channel 9 this summer and on Channel 12 in the fall.
According to Cross the TVB’s tourism postcard surveys reveal that the Amish community and Serpent Mound are the number one attractions, however, the number one reason people visit Adams County is to relax and enjoy nature.
“The Amish Bird Symposium is running at full capacity, and the AC Marathon had to capped at 1,000 participants, “Cross says, “We need overnight guest rooms for Friday, Sept 23 as a thousand runners and their families are expected to arrive on the day before the race.”