Guest Column written by State Representative Dorothy Pelanda.
The Tourism Economics report released in May, 2011, which measured employment in 2010, said that 326,964 Ohio jobs were directly related to tourism, while another 112,109 jobs were indirectly linked to tourism (i.e. hotel workers, gasoline stations, and grocery stores).
Taken together, Ohio tourism supported 439,073 jobs, according to the report.
That same report stated that visitors spend $36 billion annually.
Ohio’s Legislature is working to increase those numbers.
GOP lawmakers introduced legislation–House Bill 489 and its companion, Senate Bill 314– that, among other things, establishes “TourismOhio”, an agency that would, through a five-year pilot program, replace the existing tourism division in the state Department of Development.
“TourismOhio” will promote our state as a travel destination and encourage job growth, by entering into agreements for tourism promotion in the virtual world as well through the website www.DiscoverOhio.com.
It will also establish a board comprised of individuals with executive-level experience in the attractions, lodging, restaurant, transportation, and retail industry to advise on strategies for promoting tourism in the state.
In an effort to assist more minority-owned businesses, the legislation also increases access to capital by allowing transfers between the two minority-owned business funds, the Enterprise Loan Fund and the Capital Access Loan Program. Additionally, the reserve requirements for each fund would be decreased in order to make more money available to these businesses.
This bill removes the DFAC (Development Finance Advisory Council) from the loan process in the hopes that loans to businesses will be able to close more quickly while ensuring proper oversight of the loan applications.
The five-year pilot program will directly link funding for our tourism marketing to the growth in sales-tax revenues from tourism-related activities.
Our Ohio Assembly will continue to strive to restructure state government to make it more efficient in supporting Ohio’s businesses, and in attracting new enterprises to our great state.
State Representative Dorothy Liggett Pelanda is currently serving her first term as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives after being appointed to serve during the 129th General Assembly. She represents the 83rd House District, which includes Union and Logan counties, as well as most of Marion County.
You can find more information about and contact Pelanda by clicking here.