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Travel Trends & Economic Impact of Tourism in Cumberland Valley

CUMBERLAND VALLEY, PA (March 19, 2015) – On March 11, 2015, the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau (CVVB) hosted a roundtable that focused on lodging trends and economic impacts of the tourism industry. Statistics showed continued growth and economic value for the tourism industry in Cumberland, across the state and at a national level. A highlight of the information shared is below.

Cumberland Valley Lodging Trends

The lodging trends for Cumberland Valley were presented by Brittany Baldwin, the Director of Business Development for Smith Travel Research (STR). STR tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry and provides valuable market share analysis for a variety of hotels and destination marketing organizations.

Baldwin started with an overview of the lodging industry at large. 2014 was a great year for the industry with a 10% growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in May (highest May on record), 71.7% occupancy in June (highest June in a decade) and 113 million rooms sold in July (most rooms sold ever). The United States has seen positive growth in RevPAR for the past 53 months.

After sharing that it’s a great time to be in the lodging industry, Baldwin focused on what’s happening in Cumberland County. Our county has 47 hotels with 4,202 available rooms. These available rooms do not account for bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals or campgrounds. Looking at January 2015, occupancy was at 37% (3.5% growth); RevPAR was $27 (2.4% growth); room revenue totaled $3.6 million (5% growth); and we had an average daily rate (ADR) of $74 (1% decline). In Cumberland, our demand for lodging is on the rise and we’ve seen a slight increase in supply.

Since 2005, Cumberland County has gained 892 rooms from 17 properties including one vacation rental and five bed and breakfasts for a total of 4,319 rooms. Two new hotels are currently underway for an estimated total of 190 additional rooms. Up to five other properties are in the planning stages according to the STR pipeline. Continued lodging growth shows a demand for room nights and increased visitation.

Our data shows that we are strongest in the summer months for visitation with our highest weekend ADR in July. When comparing 2005 and 2013 data, we have seen growth in the transient visitor compared to group visitation which includes room blocks of 10 or more. In 2013, we had 64% transient visitors and 36% group.

Economic Impact of Tourism in Cumberland Valley

The economic impact of tourism in Cumberland Valley was presented by Elizabeth Sechoka from the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Sechoka shared a few large numbers that show a bigger picture for tourism in Cumberland Valley, including our county being 13th out of 67 PA counties for visitor spending. In 2013, travelers injected an estimated $760 million into Cumberland County’s economy, including $173 million in the food and beverage industry, $101 million in lodging, $136 million in retail establishments, $123 million in recreation and $226 million in transportation getting to and from their destination. Compared to statewide averages, Cumberland County visitors spend more on lodging, food and beverages, and retail purchases, about the same on recreation, and far less on transportation costs.

The travel and tourism industry also has a direct impact on income, jobs and tax revenues at the state and local level. Traveler spending directly supports over 6,100 jobs in Cumberland. These jobs are at restaurants, lodging facilities, recreational attractions, etc. This puts the travel and tourism industry sector as the 10th leading employer in the county, which represents about 5% of the county’s total job count.

Traveler spending in Cumberland County is responsible for an estimated $42 million in state and local tax revenues combined in 2013. This includes property taxes, sales taxes, personal income, wage taxes, corporate taxes and others at the state and local levels. The estimated total direct economic impact in Cumberland County is $798 million.

The numbers shared by Sechoka are from the latest Tourism Economics study.

CAEDC is Cumberland County’s authorized agency charged with leveraging and promoting Cumberland Valley’s economic development and tourism assets to drive growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life. Offices are located at 53 W. South Street, Carlisle PA. For more information, visit www.cumberlandbusiness.com and www.visitcumberlandvalley.com.

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