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Daily Court Reporter - News New TourismOhio leader glad to be back in Ohio


New TourismOhio leader glad to be back in Ohio

BRANDON KLEIN, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

Matthew MacLaren said he's happy be back in Ohio as its new TourismOhio director.

Since he started the job in January, MacLaren has already engaged with TourismOhio advisory board and stakeholders across the state's tourism industry.

He said the sector is now stronger than what it was in 2014 when he joined the American Hotel & Lodging Association as its senior vice president of membership.

"This is our year in Ohio to increase our visibility," the new director said.

Ohio's tourism industry contributed $43 billion to the economy with 212 million annual visits in 2016. Last year's numbers, which will be released in May, are expected to be stronger, MacLaren said.

Additionally, the agency's "Ohio. Find It Here." brand entered its third year in 2018 with MacLaren tasked to ramp up awareness efforts by implementing TourismOhio's strategic plan, leading its staff and increasing industry partnerships.

MacLaren said they will launch its spring and summer marketing campaign in March with the first wave of advertisements and feature the emotions of people enjoying their time in the state.

"Matt's got a talent for economic development through hospitality and a proven track record for forming successful partnerships. Working in partnership with you, Matt can raise awareness for the 'Ohio. Find It Here.' brand and continue to position Ohio as a destination of choice," said David Goodman, director of Ohio Development Services Agency, in a statement when he announced MacLaren's appointment.

MacLaren graduated from The Ohio State University where he studied political science and business.

He is also a graduate of Capital University Law School where he met his wife. The two will celebrate their 10th anniversary this month. They live with their two daughters in Johnstown.

MacLaren previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association.

During his time at AHLA, MacLaren helped grow membership to an all-time high of more than 25,000 lodging properties representing more than 3 million hotel rooms in the United States.

"We want to grow the overall visits," MacLaren said.

He highlighted the state's strengths in key attractions such as Cedar Point amusement park but also said smaller trips such as a weekend getaway to Ohio destinations such as Cincinnati and Columbus are important too.

Date Published: March 1, 2018


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