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New tourism economic impact numbers, Ohio Tourism Industry Celebration mark National Tourism Week

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The Ohio Tourism Division today unveiled a new consumer advertising campaign designed to drive travel to and within Ohio. The campaign was presented in conjunction with recognition from Governor Ted Strickland and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher declaring May “Ohio Tourism Month”.

“This is an innovative, new campaign for Ohio tourism that showcases identifiable Ohio experiences including some of Ohio’s all-star talents with whom national television audiences are already familiar,” said Lt. Governor Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development. “The print, radio, and television ads bring a fun, vibrant, and exciting feel to our campaign and will be added to our overall marketing efforts to generate increased visitation from surrounding states.”

The new advertising campaign, developed by Ron Foth Advertising, is designed to focus on a key economic driver – overnight travelers.

“We know from our research that overnight travelers significantly outspend day-trippers,” said State Tourism Director Amir Eylon. “In addition, we know that about 79 percent of Ohio’s leisure visitation is comprised of day-trip travel. We believe that we can convert many of these day-trip stays into overnights that will positively impact Ohio’s economic bottom line,” Eylon said.

To effectively drive tourism, the campaign portrays Ohio as “Too Much Fun for Just One Day,” encouraging visitors to consider staying the night in Ohio. Specifically, the campaign encourages three-day getaways while highlighting the diversity of Ohio’s attractions and the ability Ohio visitors have to enjoy many experiences within a short timeframe. To bring greater attention to the marketing efforts, the Tourism Division is employing some Ohio star-power in the form of Columbus Zoo Director Emeritus Jack Hanna and the Cincinnati Reds’ baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr.

The campaign targets key feeder markets in neighboring states including Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Louisville/Lexington, and Charleston/Huntington. A majority of the paid media investment will be seen in these markets. During Ohio Tourism Month (May), the campaign also will target consumers in Ohio including Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. The campaign will extend through June – the Midwest’s peak planning period for summer and fall getaways.

Research commissioned by the Tourism Division and conducted by Tourism Economics and Longwoods International indicates that in 2007, Ohio’s tourism industry generated $38 billion in sales, an increase of five percent over 2006. Tourism also accounted for approximately $2.5 billion in state and local taxes for Ohio.

According to research presented from Longwoods International, Ohio recorded 172.3 million visits in 2007 with 35.8 million of those visits including an overnight stay.

About Ohio Tourism Month

Ohio Tourism Month provides an opportunity to promote Ohio tourism opportunities to Ohioans, and for local communities to share with their elected officials what the tourism industry means to their respective economies. The month is held in conjunction with the Travel Industry Association of America’s “National Tourism Week” (May 10 -18, 2008), which promotes travel and tourism within the United States and raises awareness of the industry as a significant economic engine.

About the Ohio Tourism Division (www.DiscoverOhio.com)

The Ohio Tourism Division is the premier source of information for travelers and media about Ohio’s vibrant tourism experiences, attractions, and economy. Division marketing programs contributed to an estimated $38 billion in sales in visitor spending in 2007. A part of the Ohio Department of Development, the Division’s mission is to promote and celebrate Ohio’s unique travel opportunities and market the State’s outstanding quality of life.

About Ron Foth Advertising (www.ronfoth.com)

Ron Foth Advertising is a full-service communications firm headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1975, the agency has grown to provide a full range of services to businesses throughout the United States and beyond. In addition to the Ohio Tourism Division, clients include Wendy’s International, Safelite AutoGlass, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and its new Zoombezi Bay water park, The Ohio State University, and Nationwide.

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