By Wayne Allen
Tripadvisor.com has named the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals the top tourist attraction in the state of Ohio.
The site tripadvisor.com, has named the top tourist attractions in each of the 50 states and based on a ‘TripAdvisor Popularity Index,’ which is supposed to take into account such things as reviews written by the site’s users.
Kim Bauer, Executive Director of the Scioto County Visitors Bureau was surprised by the news of the designation and explained the murals are visited by an estimated 10,000 people a year.
“That’s tremendous, a lot of people don’t realize that the people running trip advisor, are paying attention to those (reviews). A lot of time the nasty comments do not do a whole lot of good, but the nice ones do,” Bauer said.
She said there is a sign-in sheet in the Scioto County Welcome Center where visitors are encouraged to sign-in and provide information on where they are from. Bauer uses that information to show the diversity of the people visiting the welcome center.
“We may end up with 30 people from Ohio, 15 from that state up north (Michigan), three from Kentucky, on any given day. I’ve seen them from Scotland, Germany and Italy. At the end of the year I add all of that up,” Bauer said.
She said there will be an average of 42-45 states represented and anywhere between 8 and 11 foreign countries represented.
“On average we have about 10,000 people come through the building (Scioto County Welcome Center) a year,” Bauer said.
She said there is not a good way to track how many people see the murals each day, month or year.
“It’s like (trying to measure) how many people see the Statue of Liberty. You really don’t know because they may be in the middle of Manhattan and just look over or they are on the Staten Island Ferry,” Bauer said. “This is tremendous and this means I need to work even harder.”
As of Wednesday morning where were 69 reviews of the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals on Tripadvisor.com with 63 of the reviews rating the experience as excellent and six rating the experience as very good.
According to promotional materiel for the murals, “The idea of painting murals on the Portsmouth floodwall first occurred to lifelong Scioto COunty resident, Dr. Louis R. Chaboudy in 1992 after viewing outdoor murals in Steubenville, Ohio.
When Dr. Louis and wife, Ava Chaboudy searched for a muralist to transform the floodwall, they looked for someone who would not only paint a picture but would bring Scioto County’s rich history to life. They found that person in internationally known muralist, Mr. Robert Dafford. In February 1992, Mr. Dafford came to Portsmouth to meet with the committee.
In May 1993, less than one year after the visit to Steubenville, painting began on the longest mural in the project, 20 feet x 160 feet. The mural project was completed in October of 2002 with 2,200 feet of art along the Ohio River. The project has become the largest known work of art by a single artist.”
For more information about the Scioto County Visitors Bureau visit them at ohiorivertourism.org.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT