Promote local tourism by taking a staycation this summer


In May, Greater Cincinnati joined forces with a multitude of cities to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week to propel its year-long initiative “Travel ’16,” which encourages people to explore, have fun, and engage with one’s surroundings throughout the remainder of the year.

Even if your summer getaway is already booked, or perhaps your vacation days for the year have been exhausted — the good news is, Cincinnati makes for an ideal “staycation.” 

“I don’t think locals realize how massive tourism is here,” says Debbie Pappadakes, senior communications manager with CincinnatiUSA Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Visitors to Cincinnati spend an average of $4.4 billion a year.

And what makes that number even more impactful (aside from the economic benefit to the region) is the fact that many of the establishments that visitors frequent — establishments composing some of Cincinnati’s finest — make it a priority to give back. 

Orchids at Palm Court — the only AAA Five Diamond-rated restaurant in the state, and 1 of just 63 restaurants in the country with the highly sought-after designation — is one of those establishments. 

With its 1930s French Art Deco interior and its commitment to the highest quality ingredients, Orchids is at the top of travelers’ lists of must-visit places. 

On a quarterly basis, the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, which the restaurant calls home, engages in community outreach. But one thing Orchids concentrates on specifically is its partnership with La Soupe, a nonprofit that takes recovered food from local kitchens and turns it into healthy and delicious meals for families who are facing food insecurity.

“We also make weekly donations of recovered food to the Freestore Foodbank,” says Orchids’ Executive Chef Todd Kelly. “We want to make sure we’re doing our part to better the community where possible — not only by volunteering — but by supporting local vendors, farmers and artisans.” 

Another venue making its mark on the city is Maverick Chocolate, a place that’s put Cincinnati on the map when it comes to craft chocolate. 

Not only do they go from bean to bar in-house at their Findlay Market shop, but Maverick also pays anywhere from $500-2,000 above market price to ensure cacao beans are being sourced ethically from the farmers and co-op managers that they work directly with. 

According to Paul Picton, co-owner of Maverick, Peruvian communities are particularly excited to see chocolate makers arrive, as farming communities are trying to transition from coca, which is used to make cocaine, to cacao. 

“They had been under pressure from the terrorist groups to provide drugs that funded the Shining Path in Peru, and you can’t just tell people to stop what they’re doing — it’s their livelihood. But we’ve done a good job here in the USA of providing an alternative, and that’s chocolate.”

Do Good: 

•    Be an advocate for the region. Use the hashtag #summerincincy to showcase the best the region has to offer. 

•    Take a staycation and explore your community's gems. 

•    Become a certified tourism ambassador for the city. Contact CincinnatiUSA Convention & Visitors Bureau to learn more. 

 

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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