COLUMBUS — TourismOhio this week released 2016 data documenting the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth within the state’s tourism industry, and highlighting its importance as an economic driver for the state.
Direct visitor spending in 2016 was estimated at $34 billion, an increase of one billion dollars from 2015. The direct visitor spending generated an estimated $43 billion in sales, up from $42 billion the previous year.
“Tourism is a job creator and economic catalyst in Ohio communities,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “Visitors see what makes Ohio unique and all businesses benefit.”
The number of tourism visits to and within Ohio increased from 207 million in 2015 to 212 million visits in 2016. Of those 212 million visits last year, nearly 42 million were overnight trips. Research shows that overnight visitors spend, on average, more than three times the amount spent by daytrip visitors ($111 for daytrips vs. $360 for overnight trips).
“Our Ohio. Find It Here. brand encourages visitors to make emotional connections with family and friends while exploring the state, and this campaign is truly resonating with travelers,” said Mary Cusick, director of TourismOhio. “We are seeing more people take advantage of Ohio’s distinct experiences and spending more when they visit. TourismOhio will continue to work with our industry partners to complement their marketing efforts and amplify the Ohio brand.”
In addition to an increase in visits and visitor spending, the tourism industry added 7,000 tourism-related jobs last year for a total of 427,000 jobs supported by tourism, up from 420,000 in 2015.
Longwoods International conducted research for the study in partnership with Tourism Economics. TourismOhio utilizes the data to track industry performance and monitor visitor trends. TourismOhio is releasing the data in conjunction with Ohio Tourism Day 2017, a public event celebrating the tourism industry and showcasing more than 60 tourism experiences at the Ohio Statehouse on May 10.