Daily Court Reporter - News Ohio's tourism industry keeps growing with record number of visitors in 2017
Ohio's tourism industry keeps growing with record number of visitors in 2017
RICK ADAMCZAK, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
Ohio may not be a hot tourist destination the likes of Florida, California or Hawaii, but the state's travel industry continues to see significant growth, according to new figures released by TourismOhio.
Direct visitor spending in 2017 was estimated at $35 billion, an increase of one billion dollars from 2016.
The direct visitor spending generated an estimated $44 billion in sales, up from $43 billion the previous year, according to the state's travel bureau.
The number of tourism visits to and within Ohio increased from 212 million in 2016 to 219 million visits in 2017 - a new record. Of those 219 million visits last year, 43 million were overnight trips.
Direct visitor spending hit had a record $34 billion in 2016, up one billion from the previous year.
Last year was the eighth consecutive year of sustained growth for the state's tourism industry.
"Tourism is a job creator and economic catalyst in Ohio communities," said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. "Visitors see what makes Ohio unique and all businesses benefit."
In addition to an increase in visitor spending, the tourism industry added 1,000 tourism-related jobs last year for a total of 428,000 jobs supported by tourism, up from 427,000 in 2016.
Research shows that overnight visitors spend, on average, more than three times the amount spent by day trip visitors ($111 for day trips vs. $365 for overnight trips).
Ohio has a wide variety of tourist attractions spread throughout the state, from popular amusement parks such as Cedar Point and Kings Island to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the rustic getaway of Hocking Hills in southeastern Ohio.
In central Ohio, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the adjacent Zoombezi Bay waterpark now annually attract more than 2 million visitors.
Columbus also has popular tourist destinations such as the German Village and Short North neighborhoods, COSI, the Easton Town Center and the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
"Our Ohio. Find It Here. brand encourages visitors to make emotional connections with family and friends while exploring the state, and this campaign is truly resonating with travelers," said Mary Cusick, director of TourismOhio. "We are seeing more people take advantage of Ohio's distinct experiences and spending more when they visit. TourismOhio will continue to work with our industry partners to complement their marketing efforts and amplify the Ohio brand."
Longwoods International conducted research for the study in partnership with Tourism Economics.
TourismOhio utilizes the data to track industry performance and monitor visitor trends.
Date Published: May 29, 2018