Archived Story

County makes push for tourism

Published 9:33am Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SOUTH POINT — Next spring new signs are expected to grace the entrances of all the villages in the county and the city of Ironton.

But that new look is only the start of a long-term public relations campaign to promote Lawrence County as a must-see attraction on the national tourism circuit.

“We have a small committee that is working on an overall campaign to market the entire county,” Viviane Vallance, director of the county’s convention and visitors bureau, said. “We want a uniform look for all the products we use to market the community.”

But before the PR experts come to Lawrence County, Vallance and her committee want to decide which aspects of the area’s past and present they want to showcase.

“We don’t want a consultant to come in and tell us what we need to do,” she said. “We want a consultant to come in and learn about our community, our past.”

Right now the committee has representation from business, private and media sectors.

“If we are really going to treat travel and tourism as an economic engine for our county, it has to be universal throughout the county,” Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., said.

“I think there is a real benefit that when you are driving through the county all signage is such one can have a local uniqueness to be part of a larger system that speaks to tourists.

“The tourist attractions from the greenhouses to the horse stables to Wayne National Forest ATV trails to boat launches, we will eventually tie those in. It is something that shows Lawrence County as standing out.”

Vallance said the convention bureau looks at this project as ongoing.

“Your promotion plan has to change for the markets,” she said. “We have to gauge what the trends are. Our first phase is to come up with a uniform logo and theme for the county.”

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  • mickakers

    Wayne National Forest, The Pig Iron Industry, The Ohio River and it’s importance in times past (and still), The Underground Railroad, The Old Historical Homes In Ironton. Lawrence County, Ironton and the outlaying villages such as Burlington have a lot to offer in regards to the history of this country in general. Be careful, and don’t undersell yourselves.

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  • Poor Richard

    Dr. Dingus is correct in that everyone’s interpretation of what recreation means could be very different.

    Recreation/toursim to some may mean sports, to others it means backpacking or birding or visiting museums. Others may see it as mountain bike trails or bike trails along county roads, or music in the park. Some see it as hunting or amusement parks. My interpretation are those low impact outdoor activities like camping and backpacking.

    Identifying the county’s assets in the world of tourism would be easy, but identifying why visitors would come to see that asset would be more difficult and while the asset may mean alot to the locals, it may not mean that much to visitors from outside the area. The county would also need to take into account the type of visitor that would come here for certain activities. A bunch of drinking, redneck houligans is not my idea of a welcome visitor.

    I would suggest focusing on increasing the size and impact of those festivals and events that currently already bring alot of people to the county. Festivals bring dollars and shoppers, they fill hotels, and help business owners. That’s why you will find some cities like Marietta with numerous festivals per year; they bring people downtown. Festivals earn thousands of dollars in a short time so it is a business investment; the more successful they are, the more people that attend, the more businesses that want booths, and the more money that comes into the county.

    It may include working with those outside our county to bring a big bike event here or a leg of the Buckeye Trail which currently encircles Ohio. The county can draw others in by including them and inviting them to participate.

    A good marketing plan for the county’s current events like the Memorial Day parade would increase visibility and the number of visitors that may attend. It is already a destination point. The marketing plan may include a list of places to stay or camp, where to eat, other things to see and do.

    Having a good tourism industry goes hand in hand with appreciation of nature and enjoyment from being outdoors. Given the county’s lack of environmental and open space knowledge and appreciation, I think it would be difficult to explain to some visitors the extreme degradation of the landscape in this county created by both citizens and business owners. Visitors with an appreciation of nature and the outdoors would immediately be turned off by any spoiling of areas.

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  • bleedingheart

    I certainly hope no tax dollars are being used to pay these “PR experts”. Honestly, I love it here, but I cannot see Lawrence County ever becoming a vacation destination spot. Sounds like a Griswold vacation to me. (Swimming at Vesuvius, staying at the Grand View…)

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