State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) today announced the economic benefits that TourismOhio, a pilot program for job creation in legislation she recently introduced, would have on Stark County.

House Bill 489 establishes TourismOhio, a five-year pilot program designed to encourage job creation and to promote Ohio as a popular tourist destination. The program is funded directly from a growth in sales tax revenues from tourism-related industries. Additionally, the legislation creates the TourismOhio Advisory Board consisting of industry experts to provide guidance and support efforts to promote tourism in the state.

“This is a progressive and smart investment for Ohio,” Rep. Hagan said. “We have seen substantial returns of $14 for every $1 invested in marketing Ohio. This modest proposal makes sense and brings additional revenue to our state and local government.”

Tourism accounts for 439,000 jobs, making it the fourth largest industry in the state, and visitors spend $36 billion dollars in Ohio every year. Stark County has 2.5 million visitors annually, and has over 12,000 folks employed directly or indirectly in the travel industry.

“The Akron-Canton Airport grew 6.5% in 2011 and had its best year ever,” said John Kiste, Executive Director for the Canton/Stark County CVB. “This is an exciting time to be in the hospitality industry, and it is more important than ever that state funding can be designed to be in line with surrounding states and sustainable far into the future.”

Research conducted by Longwoods International on behalf of the Ohio Office of Tourism also revealed that the Office’s 2011 advertising efforts generated approximately $374 million in new visitor spending from an estimated 2.1 million trips.

Testimony on House Bill 489 will be heard in the State Government and Elections Committee in the coming weeks.


Post a Comment