Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau Celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week, May 1-7, 2016

Tourism is big business in the Laurel Highlands region and in Pennsylvania. The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau joins hundreds of cities, states and travel-related businesses nationwide to recognize the power of the tourism industry with National Travel and Tourism Week, May 1-7, 2016. 

“From retracing George Washington’s footsteps and arts and cultural experiences, to whitewater rafting, world-class golf and snowsports, Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands has so much to offer its visitors,” said Reneé Seifert, President and CEO of the LHVB. “As the second leading industry in Pennsylvania, travel and tourism plays a critical role in the overall economic well-being of Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties. More than nine million travelers visit the Laurel Highlands annually, spending between $100 and $400 per day and the numbers continue to climb. As tourism continues to grow, it provides income, employment opportunities and tax revenue to benefit our local community and the state of Pennsylvania.”

According to a 2013 study by Tourism Economics, travelers spend approximately $1.8 billion annually in the Laurel Highlands, which generates:

•    More than $374 million in labor income
•    A return of $120 million in state and local sales tax and $116 million in federal taxes
•    An average savings of $510 per county household from tourism-generated taxes 
•    More than 19,000 jobs in the Laurel Highlands are tourism-related, representing one in three jobs in the region  

According to the U.S. Travel association, nationally, tourism directly generated $147.9 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments in 2015. Tourism is America’s largest services export industry and is one of the country’s largest employers. It supports more than 15.1 million jobs, including 8.2 million directly in the travel industry and nearly 7 million in indirect and induced jobs. 

“Attracting visitors to the Laurel Highlands and creating awareness of the region’s incredible offerings isn’t just about marketing vacations and getaways,” added Seifert. “Travel and tourism play an important role in attracting new potential residents, as well as business relocations and expansions. People want to live and work in a region where they can enjoy quality time with their families, put down roots and have a wealth of affordable things to do and see. We certainly have all of this and more in the Laurel Highlands.”

In conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week, arts, history, heritage and adventure will take center stage Wednesday evening at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, as the LHVB premieres a new regional tourism promotional video. While this event is designated for LHVB partners only, the video will be available on the bureau’s social media channels and website ( The video will be incorporated into website, social media and marketing initiatives including television ads in top markets such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh. 

Throughout the rest of the week, the LHVB staff members will also be greeting travelers and handing out the 2016 Laurel Highlands Destination Guide at Pennsylvania Welcome Centers, meeting with members of the Canadian Travel Professionals at Ohiopyle State Park, networking with members of the Fayette County Ambassador program and working closely with visitors center representatives on the Great Allegheny Passage to re-open facilities and educate staff members on the diverse attractions located throughout the Laurel Highlands. 

About the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau®:
The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania. Established in 1958, the LHVB implements year-round seasonal marketing campaigns throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to enhance awareness of the Laurel Highlands as a travel destination, which increases overnight stays, generates jobs and contributes to the economic growth and quality of life for the region. 

The visitors bureau and its partners influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose the Laurel Highlands through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services. Destinations within the area include three architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater®, Kentuck Knob and Duncan House – Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the Flight 93 National Memorial, Idlewild and Soak Zone, whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park and much more. 

Located within 200 miles of the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland and Washington D.C., the Laurel Highlands can be easily accessed from exits 67, 75, 91 and 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.