In the past few months visitors from Georgia, South and North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, and New York visited Lawrence County. During the same time, International visitors from France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and Norway could be found roaming our communities. This is not uncommon in our area although many residents may be unaware of the impact of tourism in Lawrence County.
Tourism is the second largest industry in Lawrence County AND in the state of Pennsylvania? Tourism statistics show that in 2013 visitor spending was $118.1 million. As executive director of the TPA I have often joked “two full-time employees along with one part-time employee are running this HUGE industry.” The fact is, we as a community are all invested in this industry.
Let’s break that down: $38.9M in transportation, $26.2M in food and beverage, $23.5M in retail, $22.8M in recreation and $6.7M in lodging. The TPA spends most of its time promoting outside of Lawrence County regionally, nationally, and internationally. This may be why our residents do not fully understand the impact of tourism.
During a recent visit, three different residents were asked where the Welcome/Visitor Center is in New Castle. Neither resident was able to give that direction. We understand there is still a need to enlightened and educate our residents so that they may stand with pride and help share the glory of our area. This need is just one of the reasons for our column.
Let’s start with the basics; be an ambassador for your home! How can you do this? Friend your TPA! Know what is in your backyard. This will not only bring more pride in where you live but will make you well educated to help all the local businesses that need our support. Instead of talking negatively about your hometown, get involved and make a difference! The TPA is heavily involved throughout the county. We work with businesses, residents, our County Commissioners, Mayors, Township Supervisors, and Chambers. We realize the importance of each person who resides here.
We have many treasures in Lawrence County, find out how you can spread the word and gather more knowledge of our wonderful area by visiting the Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency at 229 S. Jefferson St., New Castle, PA 16101 or by visiting the website VisitLawrenceCounty.com.