DARKE COUNTY — A recent report released by the Darke County Visitors Bureau and the State of Ohio indicates tourism is on the grow in Darke County.
According to the report, compiled by Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics Company, Darke County businesses and points of interested gathered in $73.8 million as a result of tourists to the area in 2017, a 12.6 percent increase from 2013, which saw $65.5 million tourism-related dollars.
But what is drawing people here to visit? Darke County Visitors Bureau Director Matt Staugler singled out some of the larger attractions bringing visitor dollars to the county.
“Eldora Speedway is without a doubt the biggest attraction within the county,” he said. “As an example, this week between the King’s Royal and the NASCAR Truck race, they have attendees from 45 states and six countries visiting Darke County. That means that those thousands of race fans are staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants, shopping at our retailers and purchasing gas at local businesses.
“Having those numbers come out at this time is a perfect crystallization of what attractions like Eldora and tourism can do for a community.
“We’re also fortunate to have high-quality events like the Great Darke County Fair, the Gathering at Garst, Versailles Poultry Days and more to drive visitation to the county, as well as year-round attractions like the Garst Museum, Bear’s Mill and others,” Staugler added.
The money spent by visitors to the area increases business earnings, which in turn provides more jobs and increases tax revenue collected by the county and various municipalities within the county.
Darke County is not alone in observing tourism growth over the past four years.
Neighboring Miami County scooped up more than $170 million in tourism dollars in 2017, a 1.6 percent increase from 2016.
Statewide, tourism impact in the Southwest Ohio region, which includes Darke and Miami counties, enjoyed 3.8 percent growth in 2017 while the state as a whole saw a 3.5 percent increase in tourist spending.
For a detailed copy of the report, contact the Darke County Visitors Bureau by calling the Welcome Center at 937-548-5158 or stop by in person to pick up a copy. More information on the bureau can be found at www.visitdarkecounty.org.