About TourismOhio

Next meeting of the TourismOhio Advisory Board: May 19, 2015


TourismOhio seeks to tell the story of what makes Ohio experiences unique and unforgettable. We provide support to Ohio tourism industries as they share their stories through public relations, marketing, advertising, and social media channels. Tourism is a key economic driver for Ohio, and our team works to promote the state as premiere travel destination, focusing on the people, places, and spaces that make Ohio great. TourismOhio strives to inform and inspire each person within our borders and beyond to discover all Ohio has to offer.

TourismOhio PlantoWin

TourismOhio conducted an industry-wide effort to create a Strategic Plan for 2015-2018. The process was led by the 11-member TourismOhio Advisory Board and will lay a foundation for growth for Ohio tourism.

  • Vision: Ohio is a destination of choice, enriching lives through authentic travel experiences. 

  • Mission: Aggressively position Ohio as a relevant travel destination and support Ohio's tourism industry to drive economic prosperity throughout the state. 

TourismOhio Strategic Plan - Driving Sustainable Growth for Tourism in Ohio

Check out what TourismOhio was up to in 2014: Read our Year-in-Review

Tourism Industry Services

  • Social Media: Promote your Ohio experience for free with help from our Discover Ohio Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  • Blog Coverage: Tell the story of your Ohio destination through one of our bloggers on www.discoveringohio.com
  • Publications: Publicize your event in our Calendar of Events or highlight your Ohio destination in our Ohio Travel Guide>.
  • Advertising Co-Ops: Make your advertising dollars stretch farther by partnering with us to make print ads more affordable.
  • JackRabbit: Make it easier for consumers to book a stay at your destination by signing up for our lodging database. 
  • Media Missions: Get face to face with magazines that target your customers. Sign up for one of our media mission trips.
  • Brochure Distribution: Make sure your printed brochures catch the eye of travelers along Ohio roadways. We can help you distribute them at Travel Information Centers.
  • Buckeye Database: Add your destination to our online database so customers can search for you on our website www.discoverohio.com/edit

  • For more information on partner opportunities, please visit our industry website. 


    TourismOhio now has twice the funding available as compared to previous years, to help promote the state’s travel experiences. The funding model for marketing Ohio is based on the growth of spending within tourism industries. It is performance-based and depends on the increase in sales tax year to year, up to $10 million. The model is set up as a 5-year pilot funding model beginning in Fiscal Year 2014.

    Economic Impact

    Tourism is a major economic driver for the state and is a $40 billion industry. In 2014, Ohio welcomed 200 million visitors, most of which are within a day's drive (300-500 miles).

    More than 38 million visitors stay overnight in Ohio, spending 3 times as much as day visitors. Daytrip visitors spend an estimated $112 per person, while overnight visitors spend an estimated $341 per person. 

    The tourism industries also support about 412,000 Ohio jobs (full time, part time and seasonal). 

TourismOhio in the News

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Branding Ohio: State launches $2 million effort to find slogan that pays off in more tourists

Columbus-based Cult Marketing, was hired last week by Tourism Ohio to develop a new brand for the state, like "Pure Michigan" or "Ohio, the Heart of It All."

Ohio Taps Marcus Thomas, Cult Marketing for creative and media services

TourismOhio has hired local firms Marcus Thomas and Cult Marketing to handle brand architecture and positioning, creative services, and media services work.

Forbes: Why Tourism Advertising is More Powerful than You Think 

Understanding the importance of tourism across the country.

TourismOhio Advisory Board

The 11-member TourismOhio Advisory Board is charged with advising the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and the Director of TourismOhio on strategies for promoting Ohio’s numerous travel destinations and experiences.


Mary Cusick
Mary Cusick
(TourismOhio) – As the Director of TourismOhio, Mary Cusick leads the state’s efforts to create a marketing plan promoting Ohio as a premier travel destination. Prior to her role, Cusick spent a large part of her career at Bob Evans Farms, Inc. where she was the Chief Marketing Officer. She is also the former Executive Director of the Initiative for Managing Services, a center of excellence at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

John Minor
(JobsOhio) – John is the President and Chief Financial Officer of JobsOhio and leads the effort to grow jobs for Ohio. His team works with expanding companies and those interesting in coming to Ohio, bringing jobs opportunities and revenue to the state.

Appointed Members

Jodi Burroughs
(Hocking Hills Canopy Tours and Wild Zipline Safari at the Wilds) - Jodi is a graduate of The Ohio State University’s Max M. Fisher College of Business and has been providing exciting tree-top adventures since 2007.

Ellen Grinsfelder
(Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls) - Ellen is a graduate of Kent State University and moved to the Hocking Hills in 1987 where she began helping her mother operate the Inn, which is known for its peaceful, natural setting, helping travelers reconnect with nature. Ellen now runs the Inn with her husband.


Todd Mesek
(Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum) - Todd brings more than 20 years of experience in strategic planning, market research,
advertising and brand development to the Advisory Board.

Dan Sullivan
(HNS Sports Group, executive director of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin) – Under Dan’s leadership, the Memorial continues its strong reputation as one of the most prestigious and well-regarded tournaments on the PGA Tour. Sullivan, a graduate of Miami University, also serves on the Morton Foundation board, a group dedicated to helping children learn and play golf.

Karen Maier
(Frisch’s Restaurants) – Karen is the Vice President of Marketing at Frisch’s and also created the popular “Taste of Cincinnati,” the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival. It began in 1979 and is held every Memorial Day weekend. About 500,000 people attend the event featuring more than 40 restaurants serving up tasty dishes.

Brian Ross
(Experience Columbus) – Brian is the president of the Columbus Convention and Visitor Bureau. He has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality business, working for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts before joining Experience Columbus in 2007.


Gregory Scheid
(Kings Island) – Greg is the General Manager of one of the biggest amusement parks in the country; 15th largest to be exact. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo and began working for Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which operates the park, in 2000.

John Mahaney Jr.
(Ohio Council of Retail Merchants) – John represents all the major Ohio retailers before the general assembly. He has been working with the Council for the past 50 years.

Dan Young
(Young’s Dairy) – Dan is the CEO of Young’s Dairy in Yellow Springs. The family farm recently celebrated 144 years and has grown to include two restaurants, miniature golf courses, batting cages, corn mazes, educational tours, large events and more.

Our Team

Mary Cusick
is the Director of TourismOhio and leads the state’s efforts to create a marketing plan promoting Ohio as a premier travel destination. Prior to her role, Cusick spent a large part of her career at Bob Evans Farms, Inc. where she was the Chief Marketing Officer. She is also the former Executive Director of the Initiative for Managing Services, a center of excellence at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. Mary loves to explore new Ohio experiences and enjoys Ohio art such as paintings, jewelry, and more. You can reach Mary at Mary.Cusick@development.ohio.gov.

Tamara Brown
is the Public Relations Manager for TourismOhio and has been sharing Ohio tourism experiences with media and travel writers for 15 years. The best part of her job is seeing the look on a writer’s face as they experience Ohio’s many hidden treasures and their preconceived notions about Ohio melt away. Tammy is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism/public relations. She spends her free time hiking and biking Ohio, bird-watching and gardening. You can reach Tammy via email at tamara.brown@development.ohio.gov or on Twitter @trvloh.

Katie Sabatino
is the Communications Manager for TourismOhio and is responsible for the www.discoveringohio.com blog and all TourismOhio-related outreach including media opportunities, speaking engagements, etc. After spending several years as a broadcast journalist, she moved back to Ohio in 2009 to help promote the state she loves. Katie enjoys hiking, going to Ohio State football games, and buying Ohio-made products whenever possible.  You can reach Katie at Katie.Sabatino@development.ohio.gov or on Twitter @TourismOhioPR.

Lauren Seckel is the Marketing Manager for TourismOhio and is working to help develop the branding for Ohio. Before coming to TourismOhio, Lauren worked at Bob Evans Farms, Inc. for 14 years as the Senior Marketing Manager. She loves to visit her family’s cabin south of Columbus which is more than 100 years old and making trips to Lakeside, Ohio. You can connect with Lauren at lauren.seckel@development.ohio.gov

Joe Giessler is the Multimedia Marketing Coordinator for TourismOhio. A native of Cincinnati, Joe earned his B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton. Joe is an avid golfer, diehard Cincinnati Bengals fan and overall sports enthusiast. He enjoys running, cooking, grilling and meeting new people. You can email Joe at Joe.Giessler@development.ohio.gov or on Twitter @joegiessler.

Aimee Rupert serves as the Public Relations Specialist for TourismOhio and oversees the Ohio Travel Publications. A graduate of Otterbein College, Aimee previously was the Promotions Manager at The American Ceramic Society. She has a fondness for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Zoos and Wild Animal Parks, and any festival where they serve food on a stick. You can reach Aimee at Aimee.Rupert@development.ohio.gov.

Amy Summers
is the Office Manager for TourismOhio.  In addition to processing and tracking invoicing and maintaining schedules, she handles the logistics for many of the meetings that take place throughout the year.  Amy and her husband have a passion for motorcycle riding (Harley’s in particular) and have traveled all over the State enjoying and exploring all the Ohio has to offer.   Amy can be reached via email at Amy.Summers@development.ohio.gov




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