POMEROY — Tourism is big business in Ohio when it comes to bringing in tax dollars for communities, and Meigs County is planning to become a beneficiary of some of those dollars.
According to the Department of Economic Development, Office of Tourism, total taxes received in Ohio in 2011 as a result of tourism were estimated at $26 million, with approximately $11 million of that total going to local county taxes and $15 million to the state.
With next week being National Tourism Week, May 5-13, an emphasis is being placed on getting out the word about events taking place in Ohio as a way of attracting visitors to communities through the promotion of events.
Amir Eylon, State tourism director, said that since 2008 when economic pressures and high gasoline prices pushed travel spending to historic lows nationwide, the agency focused on highlighting close-to-home travel opportunities for more unique Ohio experiences and affordable get-aways. She said that while that strategy is being continued this year, more focus is being placed on encouraging overnight get-aways — traveling to places within a one-day driving distance, and then staying a little longer to explore activities in a particular area.
According to the U. S. Travel Association, travel is among the top 10 industries in 48 states and the District of Columbia in terms of employment and the tourism sector accounted for approximately seven percent of the U. S. job creation in 2011.
For the past seven years, The Daily Sentinel has produced for the Meigs County Board of County Commissioners and the Tourism office a Visitors Guide which tells the story of natural attractions and special events in Meigs County, which is bordered by 57.2 miles of Ohio River frontage and features an amphitheater at the river’s edge where music and dramatic events take place all summer long.
This being the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Buffington Island, the only Civil War battle taking place in the state of Ohio, a special three-day event including a re-enactment of that battle, will be a highlight of July activities.
Kicking off the fair and festival season will be the Gold Wings and Ribs Festival, June 1 and 2, to be held on the banks of the Ohio in Pomeroy. The festival will not only feature motorcycles but a variety of entertainment, an art show in the park, contests to determine the titles of Ohio’s Best Ribs and Ohio’s Best Wings, and vendors galore.
Other summer events will include the Summer Kickin’ Bash on June 15 and 16, the Pomeroy Blues and Jazz Society’s six weekly Rhythm on the River programs beginning on June 29 ; the Big Bend Blues Bash, July 26 and 27; Chester-Shade Days, July 21; the Meigs County Fair, Aug. 13-18; Racine’s Party in the Park, Sept 6-8; the Sternwheel Festival, Sept. 13-15; and Middleport’s Pumpkinport, Oct. 20.
Copies of Meigs County Visitors Guide are free and available in many Bend-area businesses as well as at the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce. They have also been districted to area tourism offices in adjacent counties, along with the Ohio Office of Tourism whose marketing program is credited with bringing millions of dollars into the state from visitor spending. Meigs County is expected to attract a share of those dollars.