Clinton County may not seem like the “go-to vacation spot” to some, but Clinton County has many visitors.
The story of Clinton County tourism can’t be told without talking about the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
It got its start with discussions among community leaders 18 years ago.
The organization’s origin fell under legislature found in the Ohio Revised Code which spelled out the purpose and funding of a Bureau. Funding by a lodging tax imposed on transient guests staying in our hotels and cabins was established — 3 percent collected by those properties found within the city limits and another 3 percent collected by those properties found within Clinton County but outside the Wilmington city limits.
The Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau was designated as the recipient of said lodging tax with its purpose being the marketing of places in the county for people to visit, thereby supporting the lodging facilities and economic spending.
This cyclical model works. When the Bureau’s marketing brings in increased spending in the county as more people overnight at our lodging facilities, this provides additional lodging tax for the organization to invest in more marketing.
The last few years have seen a shift in the Bureau’s marketing aimed to unique shows to our facilities.
The Roberts Centre partnered with P&G to establish the Eukanuba Center and dog shows held there have increased year after year — 2018 is beyond where they have been in past and they are excited of the growth and future of upcoming shows.
Roberts Centre/Holiday Inn recently underwent a major renovation establishing it as one of the premier venues right in the middle of three major cities.
The World Equestrian Center also has added 36 cabins and 73 mobile trailers making it a premier horse show facility pulling an array of visitors into the Clinton County market.
The Clinton County Conventions & Visitors Bureau began in 1998 to market events and places to go to in the county and to keep track of how many people visited.
The CVB now has a fairly new executive director, Susan Valentine-Scott. Susan comes with many years of hotel experience. She has been a General Manager and Director of Sales & Marketing for Marriott and IHG properties from Ann Arbor, Mich., South Bend, Ind. and Ohio. She grew up in a neighboring county Fayette and understands the region, and is exploring new opportunities for Clinton County.
“We have seen quite an increase (in tourism),” Valentine-Scott said. Our occupancies are up in our hotels and we as a county continue to do more to keep the growth moving.
“We have many gems in Clinton County — The World Equestrian Center, Roberts Center/Holiday Inn, The Murphy Theatre many hotels/attractions, just to name a few, and one being Cowan Lake State Park. One season at Cowan Lake State Park can bring in 500,000 people,” she said.
The CVB receives funds to market and advertise from a lodging tax, so the more people who come to stay in the county, the more money the CVB will have. “That money that comes into us, we use that for everything from paying the rent to our salaries to electricity, and then the bulk of it then goes into the marketing and promoting Clinton County,” she said.
With 400 hotel rooms in the county, the goal is to get all potential visitors to stay the night in Clinton County, Valentine-Scott said.
“Clinton County works closely with the Ohio Travel Association and promotes through the state and national level. We work closely with them and as a whole we cross market the state of Ohio. We get to know other CVB directors and work with them in helping one another bring business into our markets.
The CCVB is currently working on a new visitors guide for the bureau. They are currently working on video footage and building up their photo library to better engage with their audience and display all the wonderful things there are in Clinton County.
Info for locals, too
In addition to helping visitors, the CVB helps local residents as well, especially with literature on destinations throughout Ohio. Those are free, so residents can visit the CVB, 13 N. South St., Wilmington, and learn more about the Buckeye State as a whole or any local information. We also have a list of events for 2018.
In the end, the main goal of the CVB is to always increase tourism and revenue for Clinton County. She and the board are excited for the new things to come and they are working diligently to present Clinton County to the best level yet.