Tourism growth in Sandusky County leads the state

Tourism growth in Sandusky County leads the state

Tourism growth in Sandusky County leads the state

Thornbury said Sandusky County is doing something right.


A new report reveals that Sandusky County has achieved the highest tourism sales growth in the state of Ohio between 2021 and 2023.

Tourism Economics’ economic impact report shows the county’s growth of 31.03 percent over that period. That performance is nearly double the reported state average of 16.86 percent.

Sandusky County is doing something right

“We’re doing something right in Sandusky County,” said David Thornbury, marketing director for the Sandusky County Visitors Bureau.

“We were fourth in 2017,” he said. The report takes into account multiple economic factors beyond tourism. But tourism in the county does play a role, Thornbury said.

Northwest Ohio’s economic highlights from 2021-2023 showed that visitor spending in Northwest Ohio generated $9 billion in total sales. This spending supported 73,081 jobs and generated $2 billion in revenue.

Tax revenue from visitor spending reached $1.1 billion.

County attracts bus tour companies

Sandusky County has added several new tourist attractions since 2021, including the Rock and Awe holiday light show. The show draws thousands of people to the downtown area, Thornbury said. Communities across the county have also worked to make improvements in a variety of ways since 2021.

Thornbury also said the county has seen an increase in bus tours. Buses travel the Ohio Turnpike to various destinations. Tours to the East Coast can make Sandusky County a stop and a day or overnight break for customers.

“We’ve been effective in reaching out to those groups,” she said. The SCVB has also sent Brenda Havens to promote the county as a destination. The efforts have resulted in more than 100 buses making a stop in Sandusky County each year. “We try to get noticed,” Thornbury said.

The tourism bureau also continues to attract new groups to the county, including the recent Ohio Ayrshire Breeders Association convention at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds in May.

“The impressive growth in tourism sales in Sandusky County is a testament to the county’s vibrant tourism industry and its appeal as a premier tourist destination,” Thornbury said. “Our community has worked tirelessly to enhance the visitor experience and these efforts are paying off.”

The economic impact on Sandusky County at a glance

  • Total sales from visitor spending: $229.3 million
  • Jobs supported: 2,035
  • Total impact on labor income: $55.5 million
  • Tax revenue: $29 million

Growth rates for northwest Ohio counties

  • Hancock County: +22.93%
  • Erie County: +19.42%
  • Van Wert County: +12.98%
  • Mercer County: +13.41%
  • Allen County: +11.09%
  • Fulton County: +10.86%
  • Wood County: +10.16%
  • Hardin County: +10.12%
  • Lucas County: +9.14%
  • Defiance County: +8.44%
  • Ottawa County: +4.17%
  • Putnam County: +2.47%
  • Wyandot County: +0.34%
  • Paulding County: -1.27%
  • Henry County: -1.95%
  • Huron County: +3.18%
  • Auglaize County: -3.16%
  • Seneca County: -3.44%
  • Crawford County: -3.57%
  • Williams County: -3.61%

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