Once the state budget is passed, drastic cuts in the Governors two-year budget plan could wind up losing the state billions of dollars and thousands of jobs in Ohio’s tourism industry.
Visitors spend nearly $38 billion a year in Ohio, resulting in $1.1 Billion in local government tax revenue. Advertising campaigns and the states 454,000 tourism employees have a lot to do with bringing in those tourism dollars. “There is research that shows that when you put this money into promoting Muskingum County and promoting Ohio as a destination, there is a positive economic impact. Travelers come into the area and spend money and keeping those jobs. So now is not the time to cut something that has shown a positive economic impact.” Says Vice President of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce, Kelly Ashby.
If the budget is passed in its current form, the state division of tourism’s budget would be slashed by 90% from $7.2 million down to $400,000 a year in 2010, with no funding in 2011. Not only does that affect the Muskingum county area, but the state of Ohio as a whole.
“That does have a negative effect here on not only Muskingum county but the entire state of Ohio. We do rely on the department Of Travel and Tourism to promote Ohio as a destination for families, for travelers, for business travelers and we take advantage of the cooperative advertising that they offer. That slash in the budget will have a trickle down effect that will hurt Muskingum county as well.” Says Ashby.
Business will go about as normal to promote Muskingum county tourism should the cuts happen. Local officials say more work will have to be done in order to supply visitors with all the information they need should other outlets not be available.