Beautiful Lancaster County. From the sprawling farmlands, to the fun city. Shopping, fine dining, entertainment. It's a draw, as a newly released Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau report revealed.
"Eight million people come here annually, and tourists spend 2 billion dollars annually for a total economic impact of 2.5 billion dollars," said Kathleen Frankford,President of the PA Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau.
To put that into perspective: "When you think about $2 billion and what you can purchase for $2 billion, that's a lot of money that could pay for ten thousand students to go to F&M College for four years. That could build 57 Spooky Nooks. That's substantial. We also employ 24 thousand residents in Lancaster County, so if you think of that number, that could fill Clipper Stadium three times over," said Frankford.
That's why the PA Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau wants to make sure county and state lawmakers know how the Bureau makes a difference and why it wants funding restored.
Frankford says several years ago, the Bureau's budget was $5 million, and now is under $3 million. "I would love to see it go back to 5 million by 2017."
She also says that tourism pays off. "Imagine we could get in front of 90 million more people and just trickle that down to 5 percent really seeing the message, and 5 percent get motivated. Twenty-four thousand additional people coming to Lancaster County. That's $5.6 million. It's a huge return on investment and a benefit to the business here and the people who live here."
Frankford says tourism saves each household in Lancaster County $924 a year.