LAUREL HIGHLANDS, PA., (Feb. 1, 2018) – Twenty-three Fayette County tourism-related businesses and organizations were awarded a combined total of $392,486 during a presentation today at the State Theatre Center for the Arts. Thirty-seven applications were submitted for this year’s program.
The Annual Tourism Grant Program is funded by 50 percent of the revenues generated by the Fayette County Hotel Room Tax, a three percent tax that became effective in 2008. Awards are granted annually on the basis of merit as determined by the Grant Review Committee and administered by the Fayette County Commissioners and the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau (LHVB). Since the program’s inception, more than $4.1 million has been awarded in tourism grants. A complete list of grant recipients and their projects can be viewed online at www.laurelhighlands.org/grants.
“Fayette County and the Laurel Highlands continue to be a destination of choice for visitors,” said Ann Nemanic, Executive Director of the LHVB. “Last year marked the 150th birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright, the new Shepherd’s Rock golf course opening at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and an extended season of rafting and biking due to glorious weather in October. We begin 2018 with a blanket of snow that brings outdoor enthusiasts to our trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and to our resorts for downhill. With the spring thaw, we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Great Allegheny Passage. Throughout the year, the county and the region will be filled with engaging special events like the 200th anniversary of the completion of the western National Road. Family getaways will continue to be popular and history and heritage travelers always find a home here. Our trail towns and river towns remain vibrant. It is an exciting to see the spirit of tourism alive and well in Fayette County.”
According to the most recent economic studies conducted by the Pennsylvania State Tourism Office, visitors spent more than $667 million in Fayette County in 2015. Overall visitor spending in the Laurel Highlands region, which consists of Westmoreland, Somerset and Fayette counties, totals more than $1.8 billion.
The Fayette County Tourism Grant Review Committee was comprised of Diane Centeno, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort; Tammy Stemson, McMillan Engineering; Warren Hughes, Fayette County resident; Sean Sypolt, Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, Private Industry Council; and Ann Nemanic, Executive Director, LHVB.
The recipients’ applications were selected based on the program’s criteria which include two categories marketing/advertising programs and capital projects. Advertising programs are to be targeted to media that will reach potential visitors outside of Fayette County. Capital projects include improvements that benefit tourism and the visitors’ experience by developing new or enhancing existing visitor attractions or amenities.
About Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands
A magnificent mountainous region, the Laurel Highlands spans 3,000 square miles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Located east of Pittsburgh, the beautiful four-season destination offers some of the most spectacular natural scenery, outstanding outdoor recreation, historic sites and attractions, classic family activities and world-class resorts. Notable destinations within the region include three architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob, and Duncan House – Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Flight 93 National Memorial, Idlewild and Soak Zone, whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park and 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.
Visitors to the Laurel Highlands can find information online at www.LaurelHighlands.org, calling 800.333.5661, www.facebook.com/LaurelHighlandsPA and www.twitter.com/LaurelHighlands. Established in 1958, the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.