Executive Director of the Ohio Travel Association
Melinda Huntley is the executive director of the Ohio Travel Association (OTA), a nonprofit organization that provides support for museums, attractions, visitor bureaus, retail shops, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses wanting to attract travelers. OTA advocates for smart policies that increase travel in Ohio, produces the state tourism conference, keeps the industry informed on market trends and news, and provides professional development. It also produces Heartland Travel Showcase, a 14-state regional meeting place for buying and selling group tours. With career experience in public relations at Cedar Point, running a CVB along Lake Erie and helping communities develop heritage and outdoor experiences through OSU’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program, she has a unique understanding of opportunities for businesses and communities of any size. She is a Commissioner for America 250 Ohio which will be celebrated in 2026 and serves on multiple national and statewide task forces and boards, including those focused on World Heritage designation, trail development, and educating our youth.
Change is inevitable. We all know that. But we don’t have to view change as negative. In this session, we’ll look at 10 top predictions for travel, including cultural and heritage travel. We’ll then talk about ways we can embrace these predicted trends and shifts as opportunities. In addition to exploring changes in visitor expectations, ways to get their attention and other high-level transformations, we’ll also talk about how to leverage opportunities closer to home, such as Ohio’s first World Heritage inscription, the solar eclipse and America 250-Ohio. You’ll walk away with a checklist of actionable items you can put into play right away.