Kasich floats plan to double Ohio tourism budget

PORT CLINTON, OH (Toledo News Now) - Ohio Governor John Kasich is pushing a proposal to potentially double the state's tourism marketing budget.

The proposal would allow the state to spend up to $10 million in tourism marketing.  The funds would come from sales tax revenue, instead of from the general fund.

"I think it's fabulous. It's something that the tourism industry in the state has been working for many, many years to hopefully get accomplished," said Larry Fletcher with Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

Fletcher said that if passed, the proposal would boost tourism in the state.

"Theoretically, you put more money into marketing, you bring in even more money that can be used by Ohio," said Fletcher.

According to Fletcher, tourists spend $276 million annually in Ottawa County.

Still, the county struggles with seasonal unemployment.  In March, Ottawa County had the second highest unemployment rate in the state, coming in at 13.1%.  Leaders hope more tourists would boost revenue for businesses and reduce unemployment.

"It's not just the time that people are here visiting. It's the time beforehand to get everything prepped and it's the time afterward to get things readied and sealed off for the wintertime, too. The longer you can stretch that out, the less time folks are out of work," said Stephanie Kowal, Director of the Ottawa County Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Governor Kasich's proposal has passed in the House and now heads to the Senate.

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