Monday, September 03, 2001

Tourism takes a beating

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Most of Greater Cincinnati's tourist attractions are relieved to see the summer of 2001 in their rearview mirror.

        This was supposed to be the year the Reds returned to playoff contention. Instead, Ken Griffey Jr. was hobbled by injury in the first half of the season, and Cincinnati's chief claim to national attention was as the site of riots in April.

        Footage of motorists being dragged from their cars doesn't exactly say “family vacation destination.”

        The Comair strike and mediocre economy only added to the slump in area tour ism — a $3.5 billion industry that employs 81,000 people.

        “It's been a pretty painful summer,” said Sheree Allgood of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Fortunately or unfortunately, we market ourselves as a region. When we bring people in, we don't just bring them to Northern Kentucky. They go to the Museum Center, and they go to Reds games.”

        Or not.

        At the Museum Center at Union Terminal, just blocks from Over-the-Rhine, paid attendance for June through August was down 8 percent from the past two summers, prompting five layoffs, spokesman Roger Pille said.

        Regionally, hotel occupancy rates were down 13.3 percent in April, 14.7 percent in May and 8.9 percent in June, according to the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau.

        Cindy Marcucci, 37, of Wixom, Mich., is among those who canceled a trip here in the days after the riots. She had planned to take her two kids, 12 and 13 years old, to a Reds game.

        “I had always thought of Cincinnati as a city that is OK to visit at night, but then after the riots ...,” Mrs. Marcucci said.

Warren Co. bucks tourism decline

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