CVB holds its annual meeting

The Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s annual meeting held its annual meeting Feb. 18 in the Marie Antoinette Ballroom located inside the Comfort Inn.

Dinner for the evening was provided by Prime steak and Seafood and the House of Wines provided an assortment of wine.

The annual meeting highlighted the successes of 2013 and the strategic plan of the CVB going forward.

Jeri Knowlton, executive director of the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, stated that 2013 was a successful year and all key indicators point to a good travel year for 2014. “We are proud of our work to promote the Marietta-Washington County area as a distinctive destination,” said Knowlton. “We want to continue to develop the outdoor recreation market and grow leisure and group travel.”

The keynote speaker for the event Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association, spoke on the current state of the Ohio tourism industry. Huntley discussed how travel across this state impacts entire communities by creating jobs and stimulating local economies. Her presentation showed the tourism industry is actually one of the most lucrative for the state of Ohio. Huntley stated that tourism is the fourth largest private sector within the state and that it creates about 439,000 jobs.

“Melinda’s experience in the tourism industry is invaluable and this is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak on this topic,” said Knowlton. “She has a way of making those of us who work in tourism sit a little taller in our chairs when she is finished speaking.”

After the presentations, the Marietta-Washington County CVB handed out three awards to its membership. The Trailblazer award was presented to River City Farmers Market, the Tourism Partner of the Year award was given to The Campus Martius Museum and the Legacy award was presented to the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival.