LANCASTER COUNTY, Pennsylvania (WHTM) — Last month, Discover Lancaster released a 2021 tourism report for Lancaster County that showed last year’s visits surpassed 2019 numbers. As the county moves into busier summer and fall seasons, it looks like tourism in the area will remain strong through 2022.
Lancaster County Tourism
A Discover Lancaster report states that over 9 million people visited Lancaster County in 2021 and over $2 billion was spent. According to the report, attendance was up 32.1% compared to 2020 and spending was up 53.9%, but according to Discover Lancaster President and CEO Edward Harris, what’s even more exciting is that attendance is up 2. 2% from 2019, while spending increased by 3.2% compared to 2019. before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I think people were itching to go somewhere,” Harris said. “Once our fall festivals returned in 2021 along with our great theater season with Christmas and holiday performances across Lancaster County, people were ready to return, and they returned in a big way.”
The fourth quarter of 2021 was the strongest in five years, Harris said, and the enthusiasm for travel to Lancaster County looks set to continue this year. According to Harris, the biggest problem tourism in the county is currently facing is staffing.
According to Harris, the tourism and hospitality industry in Lancaster County has historically provided over 20,000 jobs. While all industries are suffering from a shortage of workers, Harris says people are especially slow to return to the tourism and hospitality industry.
Ahead of peak tourist seasons in the summer and fall, Harris encourages visitors to be patient with workers. He hopes there will be more workers by the end of the school year for the summer.
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In addition to creating jobs in Lancaster County, the tourism industry is also putting money into the economy. Through direct impact (visitors spend money), indirect impact (businesses buy goods and services for work) and induced impact (employees spend money received from visitors), the total economic impact of tourism in the county in 2021 was about 3.3 billion dollars. to the report.
The report says each Lancaster County household will have to pay an additional $1,029 a year in taxes to replace state and local tourism-supported taxes in the county, which were about $210 million in 2021.
According to Harris, people visit Lancaster from the New England region to Washington, D.C., although many visitors are local.
Harris noted that some people who first came to Lancaster County during the pandemic to enjoy the outdoor activities offered in the county are now returning to visit again.