Local visitors bureau says tourism is still alive even during pandemic

Local News

Golf courses, parks and wineries have helped keep the economy afloat during tough time

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – “Support local” has been a huge impact on keeping the economy and businesses in the area afloat. One of those entities is the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“It was people looking for places closer to home,” Linda Macala, executive director of Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau said. “People looking for ‘let’s jump in the car and go for an hour for a change of scenery,’ so that helped, definitely.”

Their goal is to bring tourism to the area by promoting events and attractions in the area.

From 2019 to 2020, their occupancy, or amount of people coming and staying in the area, dropped from 60% to 44%, which isn’t as bad as some of the bigger cities. Cleveland’s occupancy dropped from 67% to 33%.

“Support local is more important now than ever before,” Macala said.

Macala said golf was a big draw along with hiking in Millcreek Park, biking and wineries because people could sit outside and enjoy a nice bottle of cabernet.

“In the early days of this, March, April, May, revenue completely declined. We were fortunate here in Youngstown during the summer months. We did see some recovery,” Macala said.

Some big events they are part of include the Y-Live concert, the 2020 concert featuring country star Luke Bryan was postponed until May 30, 2021, and the OAC Grade School Wrestling State Championships.

During the summer, baseball and softball tournaments bring in a lot of people, which helps the economy because people dine at local restaurants and stay in hotels in the area.

“Some of those new golfers that came to the area that perhaps had not thought about the Youngstown area before because they’re traveling further south came here, had a great time, hopefully, they’re going to return,” Macala said.

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