Put-in-Bay Chamber earns RUBY Award for pandemic response

Oct 28, 2020 | Around Ottawa County, Featured | 0 comments

Edward Heineman continued to greet visitors at Heineman’s Winery and Crystal Cave in Put-in-Bay, which experienced one of its most difficult summer seasons this year because of the Covid-19 limitation on crowds and social distancing mandates. The family winery was founded by Gustav Heineman in 1888. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

The Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau recently received recognition for its response to the global pandemic during the recent Ohio Travel Association’s Spirit of Ohio Travel state tourism conference. The Put-in-Bay Chamber received the 2020 RUBY Spirit Of Community Award for it’s campaign “Put-in-Bay Open for Fun.”

Chamber officials gave special thanks to Jessica Dress, Ray Fogg and Brian Cultice for their time and creative contributions.

“The leisure and hospitality industry was among the first to close its doors, and among the last to open, and was subsequently the hardest hit in the Ohio economy. And yet, our businesses stepped up despite the hardships and lent a hand to those living in our communities,” said Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association. “Businesses in the travel industry responded to the crisis through not only shifting focus to supporting local businesses, but also through serving others. The stories collected through the RUBY Award process demonstrate the importance and impact of Ohio’s travel industry during this time.”

Due to the pandemic and resulting shutdowns and limits on capacity, there has been a $10.5 billion loss in traveler spending thus far in Ohio, based on weekly spending reports by Tourism Economics. Resulting job losses exceed all other Ohio industries, with current industry unemployment rates of more than 30%.

Historically, the Ohio Travel Association’s Recognizing Uncommon Brilliance Yearly (RUBY) Awards recognize excellence in Ohio’s travel industry for efforts in advertising, marketing and public relations. This year, the awards focused on two categories: How the industry has served others and how businesses have pivoted during the crisis. The awards are sponsored by Ohio Magazine.

“We at Ohio Magazine could not be more proud of how Ohio’s tourism industry has stepped up to support their local communities while, at the same time, being faced with incredible hardships of its own,” said Lute Harmon, Jr., president of Great Lakes Publishing. “It is a remarkable and resilient group.”

The Ohio Travel Association is the non-profit association representing attractions, destination marketing organizations, hotels, museums, suppliers, restaurants, campgrounds and other businesses who make up Ohio’s $48 billion travel industry. For more information about the Ohio Travel Association and how to get involved with colleagues in the travel economy, visit OhioTravel.org.

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