LAUREL HIGHLANDS, PA., (May 1, 2018) – In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau (LHVB), the destination marketing organization for Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties, encourages communities celebrate what travel means to regional jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
“Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including more than 14,000 right here in Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties,” said Ann Nemanic, Executive Director of the LHVB. “This week, we are celebrating what travel means to our community—since the opening of Idlewild in 1878, Seven Springs in 1932 and the first commercial whitewater rafting trip on the Youghiogheny in 1963 to the present day. We’re calling on everyone, from elected officials to local residents, to join us in celebrating this important industry.”
The theme of this year’s NTTW, “Travel Then and Now,” highlights the travel industry’s history of economic impact in every corner of America. Across Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance. According to recent reports:
- Visitors to the Laurel Highlands infuse more than $1.8 billion into the local economy
- 11.6% of the region’s jobs are supported by travel and tourism
- Travel and tourism generates $99.2 million in local and state tax revenue
Laurel Highlands’ NTTW Schedule of Events
- The LHVB and many of the region’s tourism industry leaders will gather on May 3 at Bishop Connare Center in Greensburg for a celebratory networking event to kick off National Travel and Tourism Week. In keeping with the national theme “Travel Then and Now,” the event will feature vintage Laurel Highlands images, souvenirs and displays.
- On May 4, the Laurel Highlands region will welcome more than 2,500 motorcyclists from all over the United States for Harley Davidson’s “MDA Ride for Life,” which will be based at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Representatives from the Laurel Highlands tourism industry have partnered to provide riders with routes, itineraries, tours and welcome bags.
- On May 10, students from Somerset Area High School will unveil an incredible piece of artwork, showcasing their artistic representation of the Laurel Highlands. The artwork will be on permanent display at the turnpike’s Somerset service plaza. This project is the result of partnership among the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the LHVB. This is the third art piece created through Art Sparks, a partnership between the PCA’s Arts in Education residency program and the PTC to bring student-created artwork to service plazas across the PTC’s 550-mile system.
- May 7-9,visitors to the PA Welcome Centers along Interstate 70 in Claysville and Warfordsburg, as well as Interstate 79 in Mt. Morris, will be greeted by LHVB representatives, a colorful regional display and a wealth of information and resources about the Laurel Highlands tourism offerings.
- To end the week, on May 12, the LHVB will join Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Reese at his annual community kids’ day at Idlewild & Soak Zone, one of the Laurel Highlands’ most recognizable tourism locations. Brand new 2018 Laurel Highlands Summer Coupon Books and Destination Guides will be available to attendees. Providing these coupons and guides will help residents explore the recreational experiences in their backyard, thus making residents knowledgeable, proud ambassadors of the Laurel Highlands.
New Website Launched
In the summer of 2017, the LHVB marketing staff began a major overhaul the region’s tourism website, LaurelHighlands.org. The current iteration of the site launched in the spring of 2014, and has seen a 30 percent increase in unique pageviews, 60 percent increase in time on page and 100 percent increase in entrances to the site since then. The website has proven to be an extremely valuable asset for the region’s tourism product, receiving nearly two million pageviews annually.
With the ever-evolving needs of visitors needs in mind, LaurelHighlands.org has been redesigned to ensure that the information displayed is relevant, easy to navigate and accessible on any device. The redesign also showcases a variety of new features such as user-generated content to increase trust with our brand, a booking engine to make direct booking from the website easier than ever and advanced filtering options like a “Near Me Now” option to easily find the best Laurel Highlands has to offer near a visitor. The new site launched March 28, 2018.
About Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands
A magnificent mountainous region, the Laurel Highlands spans 3,000 square miles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Located an hour east of Pittsburgh, the beautiful four-season destination offers some of the most spectacular natural scenery, outstanding outdoor recreation, historic sites and attractions, family activities and world-class resorts. Notable destinations within the region include four architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater®, Kentuck Knob, Duncan House and Lindholm House – Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Seven Springs Mountain 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. Check out the 2018 Laurel Highlands Destination Guide!