Meigs County’s tourism season begins in earnest later in the summer and continues into the early autumn, as festivals and summer heat combine to draw visitors from the region. Calls about visiting here have increased as interest in upcoming events grows, the county’s tourism director said Friday, as the Gold Wings and Ribs Festival kicked off. (See related story, page 1.)
Ohio Department of Development’s tourism division announced last week the state has seen a seven-percent increase in tourism revenue over the past year, and $38 billion in total sales from tourism last year. Luke Ortman, tourism director for Meigs County, said he and others are now trying to collect “hard data” to determine when tourism spending is strongest here, when people begin to take notice of a particular season’s offerings, and what sort of spending they do.
Ortman said visits to websites promoting summer tourism events, such as the Gold Wings and Ribs Festival wrapping up last night, the Big Bend Blues Bash in July, and the September Sternwheel Riverfest and Party in the Park draw visitors and website hits, Ortman said.
Ortman said telephone calls to the county’s tourism line have increased dramatically in the past few weeks, as potential visitors begin to contact the office and various festival sites for information about visiting here. What are they looking for? Camping and entertainment
At recent discussion among the county’s tourism board, the sentiment was positive, Ortman said, particulary in light of the seemed perception of a tourism slump. The addition of Ohio Chataqua in July adds to the interest in visiting here, he said.