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New website looks to share the appeal of northwest Ohio

VisitNorthWestOhio.com is a website created in response to the coronavirus outbreak to help cities and counties attract visitors.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The coronavirus continues to cancel large events in the area, with the latest being the Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green. That event was set for September but organizers decided to cancel it as restrictions on large gatherings remain in place.

RELATED: Black Swamp Arts Festival canceled

Wendy Chambers, executive director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, believes that the summer tourism season will be marked by more things to with the family than by traditional large events.

"I think we have to think outside of the box," she said. "And events might not be that box this year."

With so many closures the last two months, local tourism officials from across our area banded together to create a new resource, VisitNorthwestOhio.com.

"I think people aren't going to be quite ready to jump right in with traveling on an airplane," Chambers added. "A backyard vacation, a stay-cation if you will, spending time in northwest Ohio and in the state of Ohio."

Chambers said the new website is a group effort from Bowling Green, Toledo, Rossford, Erie Shores, Perrysburg, Kellyes Island and Seneca County. It offers virtual things to do, food and places to stay and connects visitors to all of the partners websites.

"We've got the whole co-op together," Chambers said. "We've got the whole state of Ohio, so jump in the car. You know maybe you don't have a game plan, but come up to northwest Ohio. Get on that site and start going to things you can do comfortably right now."

Black Swamp Arts Festival chair Jamie Sands said public safety was the key factor in making the difficult decision to cancel this year. But they are continuing to offer people things to see and do on social media.

"There's still the parks and the shops and there's still great places to eat, and there's art happening," Sands said, "So it's an inspiring place, so there's still a reason to visit Bowling Green."

Chambers said there is still plenty for families to do this summer and she hopes the website makes it easier for people to plan on what's open and what's available.

"Until those gathering orders are lifted or stretched a little bit, I think it kind of helps you make that decision," Chambers said. "We do want to keep people safe."

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