New logo, new marketing plan, new director


PORTSMOUTH- Scioto County has been spending a lot of time redeveloping its image as a tourist destination, and, along with that, a new focus on the Scioto County Visitor’s Bureau has been approached by many.

Under new leadership, new marketing plans, and now a new logo, the group is doubling down on ecotourism and activities that bring people together outdoors.

“The community reception has been quite positive,” Executive Director Nate Welch said of the new logo. “A lot of people really like the brand, the logo itself is eye-catching. I’ve had a lot of people say they like the colors; it is very colorful, bright, and brings a lot of life back to the Bureau.”

Welch recently traveled to Columbus for Ohio Tourism Day and said he had a lot of feedback there, as well.

“I had a positive reception in Columbus. I had a few different people in the tourism world and those who are tourists comment on it,” Welch said. “They thought it was a really thought-positive image. Someone said the area itself has had a positive change and the logo reflects that. It is part of the overall re-branding that reminds people there are good things here. People know what the area used to be, and this is just a reflection of positive change.”

A lot of this planning comes after extensive planning and investment in eco-toursim and adventure-tourism of the region, which has been equally embraced by the City of Portsmouth, Scioto County Commissioners and many regional non-profits.

Eco-Tourism is having a boom, with more families taking to the wilderness and outdoors to explore and spend time with loved ones post pandemic. Scioto County, and the region as a whole, has been embracing these practices and moving to develop future opportunities. Some of these endeavors have included advancements made to Shawnee State Park, Scioto Brush Creek, the pump track, splashpad, SOMBA mountain bike paths, Connex events, multi-use paths, kayak launches, and more.

“The marketing plan is the result of a study completed before I was on board that looked at tourism businesses and what we could do to bring more people in. Imagery and logo were part of their recommendations. On the logo, you technically have four things front and center,” Welch explained. “You have the biker, indicating that there are a lot of opportunities for cycling activities not just in and around the city, but with mountain biking, the pump track and things like that. You have the trees to indicate the forest and surrounding areas and there being ample opportunities to get out, hike, or just enjoy the outdoors. You have the kayaker, which indicates more outdoor recreational focuses, as well as the confluence of the Scioto and Ohio River, the lakes and creeks and more outdoor recreational opportunities. The tan line in the middle indicates the floodwall murals and the historical aspect of the community. I think from a standpoint, you can argue the colors are indicative of the colorful place Scioto County is, how welcoming we are, and the arts and music we have here, too.”

Welch said the plan tells of opportunities to highlight in the future, what to establish in communication and messaging, and how to improve the overall image of the community. It gave specific avenues to explore, from outdoor recreation to historical narratives. A combination of the avenues have been utilized to re-brand the website that is currently under development and in future narratives across marketing, social media, and more.

“The marketing plan left us with a lot of understanding of what current market trends are for different generations, especially the younger generations after the pandemic. We’ve been highlighted as a major opportunity for folks to get out and find things to do outdoors,” Welch said. “Given my background in natural resource management and parks and recreation, I can honestly say that, yes, there are ample resources for these opportunities and the interest for these things are just exploding across the US and the world. Even here, in Ohio, people are gravitating to these activities, and it was obvious during Ohio Tourism Day.”

Welch said that part of the plan expressed a need to network with more groups and he listed most local non-profits as potential partners to expand tourism.

Welch has been on the job since January and says he enjoys it.

“From a professional standpoint, I think it’s been really nice. I’ve had a positive reception from people within the community. I will say, personally, I am not the person who goes in and changes things outright when I start a position of this caliber,” Welch said. “I want to see things through the eyes of the organization and get a lay of the land. However, when I stepped in, we had change immediately start. Unfortunately, it was something already in motion before I got here, so it has put in the position of making change and watching it develop. The marketing plan was established prior to me getting on board and then finalizing the plan began once I started,” Welch said. “Things are going very well, though. I see the Bureau working more closely with community members both small and large, whether it be a small organization like Main Street that focuses on the downtown or something with a larger scope like folks all across the region in our county and others.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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