The Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau was incorporated as an Ohio private, nonprofit organization on July 2, 1962 and is recognized as a tax-exempt business league under Internal Revenue Code section 501c6. The MWCCVB serves the community as a tourism marketing and economic development organization.
Looking at the original paperwork, the trustees represented JC Penny Company, Marietta College, Fenton Glass Works, Hotel Lafayette and WMOA. Individuals like Robert Broughton, Richard Kremer, Catherine Remley, Warren Sowers, HB Vanderteel and Reed Mallock were just a few of the first trustees.
For five decades, the CVB has been appointed to receive the bed tax by city and county governments, charged to promote and maintain Marietta and Washington County as the location for meetings, conferences, conventions, exhibits, shows and tourist attractions.
It is our duty to attract the traveler to visit, sojourn and convene in the Pioneer City. We have an obligation to maintain an increased civic interest in Marietta and its sister cities in the county and to serve as the clearing organization through which citizens of Marietta and its organizations can co-operate and promote the tourist trade and conventions.
The CVBs mission, simply stated, is to promote the area as a distinctive destination. There are so many ways this bureau does all of the things listed above. Today, we do those things utilizing 21st century tools, technology and practices in order to reach the modern day traveler.
The first half of 2012 shows a steady increase in travel. Signs of strong growth in typically slow months can be attributed to an uptick in the oil and gas play into the area. A mild winter and an early start to spring gave us a push start into the travel season. Typically revealed through lodging reports, such as Smith Travel Research, or through bed tax receipts, 2012 looks to be a promising year.
The good news is: Bed tax is up. Occupancy is up. Average daily revenue is up. Sales tax is up. When these events happen in tandem, much less independently, it fosters opportunity. More revenue for tourism marketing also means more revenue for the city's general fund. It means people are eating in our restaurants, shopping in our stores, visiting our attractions and enjoying our historic riverboat town. This leads to more opportunities for economic development, revitalization, and growth.
A lot has changed in 50 years, including Marietta, Washington County. Communication and travel, along with advancements in technology, have seen tremendous change. However, one thing hasn't changed and that's the spirit and quality of life we've been able to hold onto. Our small town charm. Our historic roots. We still love to entertain, enlighten and welcome visitors to our home towns.
Today our board of directors and membership consists of many of the same industry and community leaders that first recognized others would enjoy visiting the valley. From our Bold Beginnings, to our New Adventures, we remain a great place to visit, sojourn and convene. All of this makes promoting the area as a distinctive destination an incredible pleasure. Here's to 50 more years.
Jeri Knowlton is executive director of the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 121 Putnam St., Suite 110, Marietta.