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Tourism’s Economic Impact on the PA Great Outdoors Region

Sunday, August 13, 2017 @ 10:08 AM

Posted by PA Great Outdoors

Woman-Camping-Creek-1024x683-1024x585On most weekends, it is easy to see tourists are visiting our area. Tourists, and the money they spend, make up a large part of the engine that drives the economies of the counties in the PA Great Outdoors region.

The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region is blessed with stunning natural beauty and has so many things to attract visitors. We have beautiful places to stay, many interesting things to see and experience, along with countless opportunities for outdoor adventure in our region. We have the only two federally designated National Wild & Scenic Recreation Rivers, in the 12.5 counties that make up the Pennsylvania Wilds, the Clarion, and the Allegheny.

“At the PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, it is our job to let the traveling public know about everything our region has to offer, and we strive daily to find new and creative ways to accomplish this goal,” said John Straitiff Executive Director Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau.

The success of these efforts is evident by the number of recent accolades received within the region.

Cook Forest State Park was named America’s Best Old-Growth Forest by Men’s Journal. Clarion’s Autumn Leaf Festival was honored as the Pennsylvania Wilds 2017 Event of the Year. We are also home to Pennsylvania’s wild elk herd and the stunning Elk Country Visitor Center. Local wineries, beer, and moonshine are also very popular attractions. Scripture Rocks Heritage Park near Brookville was named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 10 New Attractions in 2016. The Redbank Valley Trail was DCNR’s first PA Trail of the Year.

Just how does tourist spending effect PAGO’s local economy?


According to the most recent Tourism Economics survey from Oxford Economics in 2015 over 4,380 people were employed in “tourism related jobs” in Clarion, Jefferson, Elk, Forest, and Cameron Counties. The annual labor income generated in the five PAGO counties was $141 million. Tourism spending totaled $348.2 million across the region with $37.6 million spent on lodging, $74.1 million going towards food and beverage, $60 million in retail sales, $62.9 million put into recreation, and $113.6 million spent on transportation.

“The more tourists we can bring to the region means more growth for our local economy,” said Straitiff.

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