LETTER: Promoting the county and economy

Washington County’s tourism industry and its importance to our local economy was on full display last week as we welcomed several major events to our area. The DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series, Washington County Agricultural Fair and National Pike Steam, Gas & Horse Association Summer Show attracted thousands of visitors to our county and generated millions of dollars of economic impact for our local businesses and communities. In fact, it is estimated that the world series alone generated nearly $2 million in impact through the hotel stays, shopping, restaurants and other activities of the international visitors participating in the series. However, the positive economic impact of tourism is even more significant when it is considered countywide.

In our county, direct traveler spending is approximately $663 million per year and supports nearly 6,000 jobs. These impressive statistics allow Washington County to rank as the second highest in traveler spending among counties in the Greater Pittsburgh Region (after Allegheny County). These travel industry impacts also generate nearly $40 million in state and local taxes in our county. And of course, this overall tourism activity continues to drive business and promote Washington County’s high quality of life.

While these impacts are impressive, the success of our tourism industry is not driven by one organization, attraction, slogan or even billboard. It is the result of countless partnerships comprised of our tourism assets, county commissioners, hoteliers, businesses, nonprofit groups and dedicated volunteers – all working together to create a thriving tourism and travel economy in Washington County.

As the tourism season in our area enters the fall season, we will welcome events such as Corks and Kegs, West Alexander Fair, Washington and Greene Counties’ Covered Bridge Festival presented by EQT, Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest and countless other cultural, historical and entertainment events for our residents and visitors to enjoy. We welcome these guests to share the energy of our great county and appreciate their contributions to the economic growth of our tourism industry.

Jeff M. Kotula

President of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Promotion Agency