Marietta impressed group tour operators

Last week the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, had the pleasure of hosting the pre-familiarization tour for Heartland Travel Showcase put on by the Ohio Travel Association. Group tour operators from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Indiana spent three days and two nights touring the Mid-Ohio Valley.

I have to say Marietta shined bright like a diamond. The visitor’s ooo’d and ahh’d over St. Mary Basilica of the Assumption, enlightened by the Anderson-Hancock Planetarium, and hopeful as they toured behind the scenes at the Peoples Bank Theatre. They spent time shopping, buying up all kinds of goodies from downtown shops, before heading to The Cook’s Shop for wine and hors d’oeuvres and a quick overview of group tour friendly cooking demonstrations.

From there the group had dinner at The Galley, was entertained by Hidden Marietta’s Lynne Sturtevant (some of our guests slept with the lights on!) and then enjoyed an incredible acoustic performance of the Fields of Gettysburg by John Walsh and gang.

The Lafayette Hotel was gracious to host our guests the first night and Rossi Pasta and Putnam Chocolates left a wonderful welcome present in our guest’s rooms. The next day we held a mini-trade show and many of the group tour friendly attractions participated. Many thanks to The Castle, Valley Gem sternwheeler, Hidden Marietta, Marietta Brewing Company, Sammi Jo’s Candles, Sweetapple Farms, The Wilds, Whipple’s Way, The Fearing House, Campus Martius Museum, Brick Street Cottage, The Original Pizza Place and My Favorite Things for being truly great ambassadors for Marietta-Washington County!

From there we visited the Parkersburg Art Center, Blennerhassett Museum, Coldwater Creek, and The Smoot Theatre. The Blennerhassett Hotel hosted our guests and provided them a wonderful meal the second night.

I received so much positive feedback as I escorted this group back to Toledo for the remainder of the Heartland Travel Showcase. I discussed possible itineraries, reviewed road maps with the Michigan folks and talked to each about the endless touring opportunities that exist in Marietta, Washington County, the Mid-Ohio Valley and southeastern Ohio. I believe the tour was a success and we that will see motor coaches visit as a result of everyone’s graciousness, hospitality and amazing attractions.

To all who support tourism in Washington County, thank you! Here’s to a great touring season.

Jeri Knowlton, executive director

Marietta-Washington County CVB