COLUMBUS — “Have you ever been to Preble County?”
That’s what Preble County Convention & Visitors Bureau Board President Stephanie Garrett asked those who visited Preble County’s booth at the recent AAA Vacation Getaway Expo.
And if the visitor said no, or they “don’t think so,” — Garrett and the CVB team were ready to share more information:
“I-70 West — we’re the last county before you get to Indiana,” Garrett said. “We’re known for our eight covered bridges.”
“This bridge,” she said as she pointed to the front of the CVB’s Covered Bridge brochure, “is the oldest double barrel covered bridge in the United States. Most of our bridges you can still drive across.”
The Preble County Convention & Visitors Bureau kicked off their 2017 promotion of Preble County with a booth at the AAA Vacation Getaway Expo, which was held in Columbus last weekend. The booth showcased the new 2017 “This is Preble County” Visitor’s Guide, the Preble County Covered Bridge brochure which was updated in 2016, and the CVB’s promotional video celebrating Preble County (available for viewing at preblecountypassport.com.)
CVB volunteers also passed out Preble County and Apple Fest magnets. A door prize drawing was held for a basket featuring donations from local Preble County businesses.
“I would like to personally thank our volunteer board members that gave up their weekend to serve Preble County,” Garrett said.
“Our Preble County CVB is our ‘secret weapon’ to bringing outside dollars into our county through tourism,” she added.
“The Preble County CVB board, including not only myself, but Leslie Collins, Dale Hall, David Maynard, Mary Meyers, Jeff Sewart, Misti Spillman, Carolyn Ulrich, are the unsung heroes of Preble County — they work tirelessly for our county without anyone knowing,” she said.
“We talked to thousands of people over three days that now know where Preble County is located, and how to pronounce it correctly,” Garrett said. “Plus, in their hands they have the Visitor’s Guide, Covered Bridge brochures and other promotional items to remind them to stop by our beautiful county!”
“It was surprising to talk to many folks who were looking for day trips, not only for themselves but for groups, and several travel writers who were looking for new and interesting places to travel in Ohio. That’s us! One of Ohio’s hidden treasures,” Garrett said.
“According the 2015 Tourism Economic Impact, the average spending per person on a day-trip is $110 and overnight would bring in $354. When folks come to our county, they buy gas, they buy food, they buy souvenirs, they buy supplies. This would make a huge impact on our local businesses,” she said.
In 2014, Ohio welcomed 200 million visitors, most of whom are within a day’s drive (300-500 miles.) Tourism is a major economic driver for the state and is a $40 billion industry. Ohio has seen a steady increase in visitor spending since 2009, based on statistics available at www.ohio.org.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.