LAUREL HIGHLANDS, PA., (Feb. 1, 2018) – Thirty-three Somerset County tourism-related businesses and organizations were awarded a combined total of $249,471 during a presentation today at the Somerset Historical Center. Fifty-seven applications were submitted for this year’s program.
The Annual Tourism Grant Program is funded by 40 percent of the Somerset County Lodging Tax which became effective September 2002. Awards are granted annually on the basis of merit as determined by the Somerset County Tourism Grant Review Committee and administered by the Somerset County Commissioners and the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau (LHVB). Since the program’s inception, more than $4.4 million has been awarded in tourism grants. A full list of grant recipients and their projects can be viewed online at www.laurelhighlands.org/grants.
“Somerset County and the Laurel Highlands offer a welcome retreat for visitors,” said Ann Nemanic, Executive Director of the LHVB. “The county is as rich in culture as the bucolic farmland visitors experience when meandering the beautiful countryside of our region. We see growth at the gateway in Somerset with the opening of a new hotel. Vacation rentals help expand our lodging base and new activities and amenities continue to be offered at our mountain resorts. We always get excited when new boutiques, eateries and antique shops open to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of the Laurel Highlands. With January’s blanket of snow, we kick off the year with our outdoor enthusiasts leading the way to a year filled with experiential travel. In addition, 2018 will include special events commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Great Allegheny Passage and the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial. It is exciting to see the county continue to embrace visitors season after season.”
According to the most recent economic studies conducted by the Pennsylvania State Tourism Office, travelers spent more than $399 million in Somerset 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.
Grant review committee members included: Commissioner James Yoder; Eric Mauck, CEO of Seven Springs Mountain Resort; George Coyle, General Manager of Somerset Med Services; John Weir of PBS Coals; and Kristin Ecker, Senior Director of Marketing for the LHVB.
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.