Sunday, May 27, 2001

Tourism solid elsewhere in region

By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's tourism market may be stalling, but that's not the case in other regional cities.

        “Tourism spending in Jefferson County is up 8 percent over last year,” said Ron Scott, president and chief executive of the Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Business is good and getting better.

        “Our convention and trade show industry is strong. Leisure travel is on an uptick. But it's pretty clear that Cincinnati occupancy numbers are just on the deck.”

        While Cincinnati numbers are down, Indianapolis is reporting a 4.3 percent increase in room occupancy year-to-date when compared with the same period in 2000, said Bob Schultz, director of communications and public relations for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.

        “We are pretty pleased,” he said. “The demand, supply and average room rate are all up.”

        On the north coast of Ohio, Cleveland officials also report a robust spring for visitors.

        “We just had 28,000 people in town for the Max International convention,” said Mark Schutte, manager of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland. “The Indians are doing well. As a result, the hotels are doing well.

        A poor start by the Cincinnati Reds is one of several reasons why Tristate hotels are reporting poor numbers, local leaders said.

        Nationwide, people are expected to take shorter vacations this summer, the Travel Industry of America reported this month.

        The association, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that represents sectors of the $582 billion travel industry, projects that 19.2 million travelers will travel less or not at all this year because of rising fuel prices.

        The group's survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who traveled last year predicts that 28 million Americans are going to travel more despite the price increases. Still, the overall trend is down.

        “Most indicate they will continue to travel this summer, but some may simplify and modify their plans,” said Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research at the association.


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