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|04-11-03: Grand Lake area's tourism revenue likely to
|By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
Local convention and visitors bureau members are confident the area
will bounce back from a decline in tourism dollars since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"It's going to be another tough year, I think we all know
this," Auglaize and Mercer Counties Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) President
Larry Stelzer told a room of about 50 at the 16th annual CVB membership dinner at Romer's
Entertainment Facility in Celina.
"But this board is set for the future, we've got some great people
on it," he said.
CVB Director Vicki Waterman announced the 2002 figures detailing the
economic impact tourism had on the two-county area.
The area experienced an influx of $39.9 million in 2002 from tourism
spending, down from $45.6 million in 2000.
The CVB uses a travel industry formula based on the amount collected in
hotel room rentals to draw figures on how much tourists spend on gas, eating,
entertainment and general purchases.
In 2002, visitors spent $4.1 million on hotel rooms in the two
counties. With that figure, the CVB estimated the following: $12.5 million was spent on
gas and automobile items; $14.6 million in restaurants and clubs; $3.4 million on
entertainment; and $5 million on general retail purchases.
Also, the CVB estimates that 1,785 jobs were supported by the tourism
The numbers have slipped since 2000, after steadily increasing since
the CVB started receiving lodging tax in 1993.
In 2000, $4.8 million was spent on lodging. Based on that figure, $14.3
million was spent on gas and auto supplies; $16.7 million on restaurants; $3.8 million on
entertainment; and $5.8 million in general purchases.
Each of the speakers at dinner stressed that the area is feeling the
same plight as the rest of the country, and it will bounce back.
"What you have, what we all have, is what the rest of the country
is looking for ... If you treat them right, they will come back, and maybe tell their
friends," Stelzer said. "We all win when tourism continues to develop in the two
As part of the annual festivities, Waterman awarded the Stahr Award,
and the Ambassador Award was presented by the 2002 winner, Kathy Keller, director of the
Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council.
The Stahr Award usually is given to one entity or business that helps
the CVB, but this year Waterman presented the award to each of the nine chambers of
commerce offices in the two-county area.
The winner of the 2003 Ambassador Award was Julie Huddleston, a Celina
native and currently a regional manager of several hotels.
She was the first manager of Holiday Inn Express in Celina and has
moved on to manage hotels in eight locations. She has been active in planning the Celina
Lake Festival and the Christian College Athletic Association Baseball Tourna-ment
"I couldn't do this without my family. They always ask Oare you
doing your real job or something else,' " Huddleston said from the podium.
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