Any City that wants to put itself on the travel and tourism circuit has to have a good old fashioned visitor’s bureau working hard behind the scenes putting out the good word for all the great things going on in the City. In the dog eat dog world of visitor attraction there’s no room for humility so you’ll have to forgive their Barnum and Bailey-esque shameless promotion on our behalf — that’s their job. Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus come in all shapes and sizes, and here in Kent we’ve hooked up with Portage County to showcase the many attractions not just here in Kent but also within a short drive around Kent. Here’s a look back at what the Central Portage County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau did for us in 2008.
The Visitor’s Bureaus are often affiliated with the Chambers of Commerce since they share a common interest in attracting people (and their money) to come visit us — and that’s exactly how we’re set up here in Kent.
The Central Portage County Visitor’s Bureau was first incorporated back in July of 2001 as a non-profit corporation with a mission to increase the exposure of Central Portage County, promoting business and family travel, area attractions and regional tourism. The Visitor’s Bureau is supported through legislation adopted by the City of Kent and the Brimfield Township that collects a 1.5% bed tax from hotels/motels specifically for the Bureau.
The Visitor’s Bureau has a $66,000 a year budget generated from the bed tax. At this point, 99% of that bed tax comes from from hotels/motels in Brimfield since the last remaining hotels in Kent have essentially been converted to student housing. The Kent Area Chamber of Commerce manages the Visitor’s Bureau and runs the programs and services at a cost of about $12,500 a year.
I suspect that in the good old days when Shamoo was still doing back flips up in Aurora we didn’t really have to work that hard at visitor attraction — it happened almost on its own. But then, as we all know, Shamoo headed south and even the Geuaga Lake Amusement Park has closed it’s doors so now we’ve really got our work cut out for us which is we enlisted the help of the Visitor’s Bureau.