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Visitors bureau reports seeing strong interest in area

People love visiting the outdoors in Carbon County.

That was the message representatives from Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau and the Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corporation gave the commissioners last week.

Chris Barrett, president and CEO of PMVB, spoke about how even with a pandemic, people were visiting.

“People want to visit the Pocono Mountains,” he said. “People have discovered it and rediscovered it.”

Barrett said because of the outdoor attractions the four-county area has to offer, revenues from the hotel tax have shown growth and are expected to increase.

Carbon County Treasurer Ron Sheehan illustrated Barrett’s point, saying that for the first quarter of 2021, Carbon County has taken in $421,758.64 in hotel tax revenues. Of that amount, Carbon keeps $17,000 for administration fees, while the remainder goes to PMVB to put back into the community through promotional materials to draw visitors to the area.

Barrett said that PMVB is focusing on three main areas, women with families, young adults and grandparents.

In addition, revenues for the year are expected to fall somewhere between $6.8 million and $8.8 million. Of that, Barrett said PMVB will put $2 million aside to help with any setbacks in the future, citing the Eric Frein manhunt a few years ago.

PMVB has pumped thousands into marketing Carbon and the surrounding communities, and Barrett said that has paid off.

The group then turned it over to CCEDC, which has created a strong partnership with the visitors bureau to provide a network of resources for tourism industries and economic growth in Carbon County.

Alice Wanamaker and Kathy Henderson from CCEDC both spoke about various opportunities available to businesses in Carbon County through the corporation and noted that the year has been successful for the most part.