As President of Visit Canton, I am so grateful to be representing Stark County. Physical assets like museums, attractions, restaurants, and parks all help to create a destination for visitors, but most important are the people, and It is the people here that make Stark County a vibrant community and a place that I am proud to call home. I am impressed daily with displays of tenacity, creativity, and compassion during the current challenges of the world health crisis. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been challenged, but I am confident that this community will continue finding new ways to work together, adapt, and rise to new levels of success.
Visit Canton is here to help and is working hard to ensure that the CVB is in position to support our community, industry partners, and visitors. Visitors to Stark County spent $1.16 billion in our local businesses and support 1 in 13 full-time jobs. Travel and tourism is an important aspect of the Stark County economy, and Visit Canton is committed to promoting a robust travel rebound.
As a longstanding organization that has weathered past crises, there are policies in place that maintain a reserve fund for Visit Canton's continued operation during unforeseen economic challenges. Given the current economic impact of this health crisis, to be in the best position as a community and as an organization, Visit Canton has taken several added measures including; postponing paid advertising and sales investments during the current stay-at-home environment and beyond as deemed appropriate based on the health guidelines provided by officials, furlough of some Visit Canton staff, and cooperation with Stark County Commissioners to extend a 90-day grace period for payment of first-quarter hotel bed tax in Stark County.
With amazing destination partners and a strong Stark County community, we are eager to soon return to a full Visit Canton team of staff working to revive travel in a reawakened economy. Public safety is top of mind as we look toward recovery, and Ohio is well-positioned to meet new motivations for travel. We look forward to positioning our community as a desirable Ohio road trip destination, a safe and convenient place to reunite with friends and family, and a smart, local option for northeast Ohio meetings and events.
More than ever, we are committed to being a resource to support our Visit Canton industry partners’ business and event needs.
We are all in this together!