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Visitors bureau looking to fill its date book

Viviane Khounlavong, Director of the Lawrence County Convention and Visitors Bureau, has a problem, and she isn't sure why.

Every year the CVB designs and publishes a Lawrence County Calendar of Events open to all civic organizations that is marketed throughout the state, nation and world.

But this year, Khounlavong said, she's been having trouble getting groups to send along their information, and she's attempting to get the word out that brochure can be a big boost not only for community groups, but for the whole of Lawrence County.

"I just want to stress the importance," Khounlavong said. "Of course it is free to all the people who want to submit the information. It's free marketing for them. I'm not sure if the people of Lawrence County understand the importance of travel and tourism."

Even if its own residents don't understand the value of tourism in the county, visitors most certainly do. Khounlavong said hundreds of tourists have already been clamoring for information about local events, information that, in some instances, she has been unable to provide.

"I've been getting requests already in the past month or so," Khounlavong said. "People want to start planning their vacations, and they call here and ask me, and if I don't have that information from the organizations then I can't market it for them because I just don't know."

Khounlavong said that, in addition to being free, it is simple for local groups to get their events on the calendar. To be included, event organizers must only send a short description of the event along with relevant info like date, time and cost of admission if applicable.

The information can be faxed, to (740) 377-2091, e-mailed, to glcacvb@zoominternet.net, or mailed to the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 216 Collins Ave., P.O. Box 488, South Point, Ohio, 45680. Groups can alternately call with information to (740) 377-4550.

The CVB will take it from there, handling all costs for publication then distributing the calendar to interested tourists, travel agencies and visitor centers throughout Ohio, and parts of Kentucky and West Virginia.

The calendar will also be available online at Web sites such as http://www.discoverohio.com and http://www.travelohio.com.

If all goes according to plan, and Khounlavong receives the information she needs, she hopes to distribute the brochure later this month.