COLUMBUS — More than 12,000 visitors attended what organizers are calling “one of the best year’s yet” of the AAA Great Vacations Travel Show, and Preble County was “in the house.”
The world’s top travel companies and destinations were on display at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus for the 12th annual AAA Great Vacations Travel Expo Friday-Sunday Feb. 7-9 — and the destinations included Preble County.
PCCVB Board members, New Paris CVB representatives and Hueston Woods CVB representatives were on hand to represent the county and the attractions which make it a great place for a day trip — including a tour of the famous covered bridges, activities at Hueston Woods State Park, camping and snow tubing in New Paris, and more.
“We would like to thank Jeff Ginter Executive Director of the New Paris Chamber/CVB and Joshua Francis, President of the Hueston Woods CVB, for partnering with us to promote Preble County at the AAA Vacation Expo. Together we had a corner double booth in a great high traffic spot,” PCCVB President Stephanie Garrett said. “Our beautiful covered bridges on our banner and literature is always eye-catching for travelers. Promoting our county through tourism brings outside dollars into our county and that benefits local businesses and their income.”
“It’s always a thrill to meet folks that grew up in Preble County,” she continued. “Of course it is our pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce people to Preble County.”
“It was a great to be a part of the Preble County team at the AAA Great Vacation Travel Expo,” Ginter added. “With all three CVBs in the county working in collaboration, I felt we were able to paint a really clear picture of what great destinations Preble County has to offer. I feel those who attended responded well to the visuals we were able to share, along with stories that connected Preble County to their specific vacation needs.”
Ginter continued, “Vacationers are looking for valued destinations 1 1/2 to 2 hours away — places where they can spend a day or a weekend — and for many in attendance, Preble County had what they are looking for — covered bridges, festivals, camping availability, unique shopping and lots for children and their parents to do.
“Travel and tourism may be Preble County’s greatest natural resource at this time,” Ginter said. “I talked to so many for whom these active opportunities in a rural setting were so appealing to them and their families. Most just didn’t know where Preble County was located. I think we have great possibilities here in Preble County with more collaboration and connectivity, better targeted communication and bottomline, an awareness and understanding of how greater investment into travel and tourism can have huge positive long range impact on the county.”
“Ten years ago, having the three CVBs working in concert to collaborate and promote Preble County was unheard of,” Preble County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Collins, who is a member of the Preble County CVB Board, said last week. “The more we work together, the more successful Preble County will be. I look forward to the continued collaborative relationships the three groups are developing.”
Garrett, Ginter and Francis, along with PCCVB Vice-President Dave Maynard and board members Preble County Development Partnership Economic Director Brenda Latanza and Mary Myers represented Preble County at the event. They were joined by several members of the New Paris CVB.
The AAA show featured everything related to travel, including more than 150 exhibits, events, attractions and appearances, all aimed at helping travelers escape the doldrums of winter and plan their next getaway.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4055 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.