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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


New Initiative to Boost Business End of Ohio Tourism

July 1, 2008

PIKETON, Ohio -- Ohio State University Extension is providing leadership to create a new resource tool enabling Ohio businesses to tap into the $38 billion Ohio tourism industry.

The Ohio Tourism Toolbox, a Web-based site, is currently being developed to assist industry professionals and community leaders in improving economic development, enhancing industry connections and continuing to grow Ohio tourism economic impacts. The resource tool is the result of a partnership with OSU Extension, the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, the Ohio Tourism Division of the Department of Development and the Ohio Travel Association.

"This new Ohio Tourism Partnership for Economic Development is designed to help drive economic development by collaboratively leveraging resources to provide research and education focused on tourism," said Julie Fox, direct marketing and tourism development specialist for OSU South Centers at Piketon. "The Ohio Tourism Toolbox is just one of several desired outcomes of the efforts of the statewide multi-organizational Ohio Tourism Team."

Fox said that the Ohio Tourism Toolbox is meant to be a one-stop resource to help industry recognize niche tourism opportunities, such as agricultural and nature-based tourism, culinary tourism, sports tourism, heritage tourism, hospitality, and more.

"The resource takes on a unique integrated approach to starting, growing and financing a tourism business in Ohio," said Melinda Huntley, tourism program director for the Ohio Sea Grant College program and project co-leader. "We are focused on developing a sustainable model for the tourism industry, rather than having businesses and consumers seek out scattered information through a variety of sources."

In addition to the Ohio Tourism Toolbox, other goals of the Ohio Tourism Team include developing educational curricula for academia, tourism industry members and community leaders to advance tourism in their areas; and to establish a research and education network to better connect academics at universities, colleges and career centers across Ohio who are focused on tourism, hospitality and other tourism topics.

The initiatives of the Ohio Tourism Partnership for Economic Development are supported by an OSU Community Access to Resources and Educational Services (CARES) grant.

The Ohio Tourism Team anticipates having the Ohio Tourism Toolbox Web site completed by the end of this year. For more information, contact Julie Fox at (740) 289-2071 or

Candace Pollock
Julie Fox