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5 Ways Hospitality and Tourism Shape Economic Development

Downtown Carlisle

Residents of the Cumberland Valley already know why we’re the fastest growing county in Pennsylvania. Our diverse regional assets — such as our incredible history, gorgeous natural resources and fun attractions for people of all ages and interests — mean tourism can and should impact our economy in a positive way. Check out the top five impacts of tourism in the Cumberland Valley, and find out how the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation can help your enterprise thrive.

Tourism Creates Jobs

Village Artisans GalleryThe most direct economic importance of tourism is job creation — and don’t discount the economic impact of seasonal workers or small-scale businesses, either. Seasonal tourists and workers, for example, spend money locally and create a multiplier effect that leads to yearlong, full-time jobs elsewhere, such as in transportation and retail. The local tax revenue generated supports essential improvements, including public education. Each of the 93,739 Cumberland County Households would pay $441 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the tourism industry in the county. Although economies that depend on tourism exclusively can experience serious problems during times of recession or natural disaster, residents of the Cumberland Valley enjoy a stable, diverse economy.

Tourism Preserves History

Civil War Union SoldiersThe Cumberland Valley’s rich history makes us a must-visit destination for the French & Indian War, Revolutionary War and Civil War buffs. Smart tourism preserves local history, civic pride and traditional customs in a socially and environmentally-friendly way. For example, just because you know Aaron Burr from Alexander Hamilton doesn’t mean you don’t also want to kick back with a glass of artisanal whiskey after a long day touring important historic sites.

The importance of linking hospitality to history was never on better display than at Carlisle’s 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion, where President George Washington put down an insurrection protesting the 25% tax on whiskey. President Washington ordered militiamen to Carlisle, where he fought farmers angry about the first tax imposed by America’s fledgling federal government. The tax was suggested by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to pay for the debt incurred by the Revolutionary War. Later, Confederate forces would occupy Carlisle during the Civil War. Jobs, whiskey and history — what could be better?

Tourism Promotes Conservation

Waggoner's Gap Hawk WatchThe Cumberland Valley’s rich ecotourism resources attract plenty of visiting nature lovers to our gorgeous regional assets, in addition to drawing people interested in agritourism. Take in our beautiful preserved farmland as you drive Cumberland County, stopping by farm stands along the way, or even taking a farm tour. Residents appreciate the Valley’s outdoor recreation opportunities, including the South Mountain and Appalachian Trail, but they also want to see those assets preserved for future generations. Smart tourism protects these assets while allowing visitors to enjoy and learn.

Tourism Influences Tastes

Variety of Carlisle Restaurants dishesOur famously beautiful farmland is one reason why hospitality is important in the Cumberland Valley, but it’s also why our restaurants have become an important destination for foodies. Restaurants such as Vrai in Lemoyne, The Garlic Poet in New Cumberland, Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camp Hill, Hellenic Kouzina Greek Café in Mechanicsburg and Café Bruges in Carlisle, among others, continue to pioneer the locally-sourced, farm-to-table movement.

Visitors travel from Philadelphia, Washington and New York City to sample expertly prepared cuisine at our waterfront restaurants in the Cumberland Valley. What better way to introduce south central Pennsylvania’s agricultural products to big city businesses only a short drive away?

Tourism Revitalizes Communities

The bottom line is that the most positive effect of tourism is the way it can revitalize the community. CAEDC helps businesses invest in the Cumberland community through grant and loan programs designed specifically for the needs of enterprises and organizations serving our region.

For more information about the CAEDC, get in touch with us today.

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