Event honors individuals for promoting local tourism –
By Patricia Beech –
The 20th annual Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau (TVB) Awards Dinner was held Thursday, May 24 at the J.M. McCoy Lumber Company’s Wood Depot in Peebles.
The Travel and Visitors Bureau each year presents awards to people and organizations who have worked to increase tourism in Adams County.
This year’s winners included: Dave and Sally White, owners of the Rooster’s Nest Bed and Breakfast in West Union, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) with Assistant Director Gary Obermiller accepting the award on behalf of ODNR.
TVB Director Tom Cross told those attending the dinner he would avoid using cliches like “unprecedented growth” and “growing by leaps and bounds” to describe the impact of local tourism.
“I want this group of tourism shareholders to reflect on what has been truly going on in Adams County recently,” he said. “Local folks have been betting their hard earned money on tourism. Within the last couple of years, eight local lodging establishments have been built, or remodeled, a new B&B will open in West Union this summer, and a considerable investment is being made at Moyer’s Winery right now. Nothing shows faith in tourism like your willingness to place your own cash into it.”
In recent years tourism has become an integral part of Adams County’s economy. Made up of multiple economic factors such as transportation, recreation, retail, food and beverages, and lodging, tourism in Adams County grew 7.5 percent and generated $34.2 million in local business sales, $13.2 million in personal income, $4.7 million in taxes, and sustained seven percent of local salaried employment in 2015. That same year occupancy rates in Adams County lodging facilities increased by nearly 15 percent, outpacing the statewide average of 11 percent.
Those numbers have continued to climb in succeeding years.
According to the latest study conducted by the Ohio Department of Development, tourism growth in Adams County jumped by 8.1 percent, that’s three percent higher than the state-wide average of 4.9 percent.
“Over the past few years the TVB has explored different marketing strategies,” Cross said. “We improved our website, beefed up our social media presence, engaged the media, improved access to visitor information, created visitor attractions, built relationships with the Cincinnati market, and financed television ads in both Cincinnati and Columbus.”
The TVB strategy seems to be producing the desired effect. For the third straight year the Bureau has recorded lodging tax exceeding $50,000.
That number has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years, and now represents a 33.76% growth in lodging tax since 2007.
In addition to lodging, Cross said other considerable investments are being made across Adams County with the aim of drawing in more visitors including: the construction and opening of two new canoe launches on Ohio Brush Creek; 10 new campsites at Adams Lake, as well as plans for a new lake dock and hiking trail; and from the Nature Conservancy, two new hiking trails – one leading to Cedar Falls and the other (Tecumseh Trail) leading to a scenic mountain top view of the Ohio River.
The TVB has also undertaken the task of keeping the original Clothesline of Quilts driving trail intact. Thus far, they have replaced two of the original barn quilts – the Brown Goose and the Hourglass, and will be replacing a third barn quilt this summer, the Windmill.
The new Hourglass Quilt Barn was added to the list to replace the original which was destroyed by a windstorm. The new Hourglass quilt is within sight of its original location across from Woodland Altars.
Cross says the TVB under his direction will continue working to attract visitors to the county.
“This bureau continues to promote Adams County,” he said. “We will vigorously develop and encourage projects and infrastructure that will draw tourists to the county, and build and increase information platforms so the traveling public know exactly what Adams County has to offer.”