Tourism director to retire at end of the year

Special to the Enterprise
Barb Ballint, right, executive director for Belmont County Tourism, has announced plans to retire this year.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — When Barb Ballint introduced herself to the tourism board of directors, she had no idea that she would eventually take the role of Executive Director for Belmont County Tourism Council, a position she has held for the past seven years.

“I remember first working with the board and thinking how fortunate I was to be able to work with such a diverse group, all who work to support their communities,” Ballint said. 

Recently, Ballint announced her plans to retire, effective Dec. 31, 2021. Ballint thanked the board for giving her the opportunity to work for the tourism council. She informed them that the decision was not made lightly, but she felt that the time has come to spend time with family.

“I am blessed to still have my mother with me and a growing family, which is a fulltime job in itself”. My husband and I made this decision early in the year, and I am now ready for the next chapter of my life," said Ballint.

During Ballint’s helm, Belmont County Tourism has made significant strides in expanding the tourism industry in the county. She led the way in rebranding the office with a new logo and tagline that represents the area; Strong Roots. Bright Futures. She has also got to witness and be a part of the ever-expanding lodging industry with three new hotels opening during her time. The office received several awards for marketing campaigns from the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and The Ohio Travel Association.

Most recently, the office was recognized for the creative and innovative marketing produced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I remember when we were all forced to work from homes and holding daily staff meetings via Zoom. I felt that the office should take the lead in keeping our partners, stakeholders, locally owned businesses, and followers informed with up-to-date information regarding the pandemic. So, we made it our responsibility to inform and ensure awareness in order to protect the health and safety of our visitors and our residents.”

Ballint and her staff received many accolades and thank you’s for sharing the important information during the ever-changing time.

Ballint also took the lead in meeting quarterly with the local Chamber of Commerce directors, the Port Authority and Museum Curators.

“Working together makes us stronger.” Everyone contributes, which makes our county a better place.” said Ballint. 

Ballint’s letter of resignation thanked the board for giving her the opportunity to work for the tourism council. She thoroughly has enjoyed working there and appreciates the board and friendships that she made through the years. She thanked the board for the help, support, and opportunities she has had in the fantastic seven years that she has been involved with the tourism council. She has enjoyed working with her staff making Belmont County Tourism what it is today. The tourism board of directors is now accepting application for her replacement.