Eric Knopsnyder | Laurel Highlands celebrating National Vacation and Tourism 7 days | Columns

LATROBE, Pa. – Kim Cady is familiar with the important purpose that tourism performs in the Laurel Highlands and throughout Pennsylvania.

The govt director of the Lincoln Freeway Heritage Corridor and the Lincoln Highway Expertise sees it firsthand in her new part. It provides her an appreciation for Countrywide Journey and Tourism Week (NTTW), the once-a-year celebration of the contributions of the U.S. vacation business, which operates via Saturday. The “travel forward” concept, which looks to glow a highlight on the vital position that vacation will engage in in driving financial progress and innovation, is in particular ideal for a group committed to telling the tale of the nation’s 1st coast-to-coast highway.

“Travel and tourism is huge for the Laurel Highlands Knowledge,” Cady said of the Latrobe attraction, which incorporates artifacts from and connected to Route 30. “It’s a museum. We want them to arrive and master about the highway – earlier existing and upcoming.”

Recognized in 1983, NTTW is an annual tradition to mark the U.S. journey industry’s job in stimulating financial expansion, cultivating vivid communities, producing good quality task opportunities, stimulating business enterprise action and elevating the quality of lifestyle for daily Individuals.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor follows U.S. Route 30 west from York County by Somerset County and into Westmoreland County, producing it a single of the Laurel Highlands’ longest vacationer attractions, if not the region’s largest. When it opened in 1913, the Lincoln Freeway gave Americans the liberty to travel a lot more effortlessly and spurred economic improvement.

“Prior to the highway, you didn’t have motels, motels, eating places and fuel stations in several elements of the nation,” Cady reported.

Now, Route 30 connects sights of all types, which include generate-in theaters, speedways, museums and condition parks. It’s a key case in point of how journey serves as a catalyst for a productive U.S. financial state and aids electrical power the success of other industries. The U.S. travel marketplace produced a $2.6 trillion financial output in 2022 and supported 15 million work, fueling communities, little enterprises and doing work households throughout the state.

“The journey business fuels each individual industry – our industry’s achievement is the nation’s good results,” reported U.S. Travel Affiliation President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “This week is a key prospect to elevate the information that journey is crucial to moving America’s financial system ahead.”

GO Laurel Highlands, primarily based in Ligonier, functions to market tourism in Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.

“There are extremely handful of industries with the exceptional dual roles of tourism,” claimed Ann Nemanic, government director of GO Laurel Highlands. “The forward-experiencing aspect of tourism is stuffed with entertaining, experience, leisure and discovery. It’s these unforgettable getaways, lengthy-awaited vacations, and bucket checklist visits of a life time.

“The aspect numerous by no means contemplate is the significant financial effects manufactured by our tourism industry. From career era to company advancement, the entire world of tourism provides a basis in each and every condition across the country.

“Within the three counties of the Laurel Highlands, $1.7 billion is generated each year via visitor paying 11.6% of the region’s positions are attributed to tourism and $299 million is produced for federal, point out and community taxes. As the formal vacation spot marketing and advertising firm, GO Laurel Highlands has focused $1.3 million to selling and internet marketing the tourism property of our 3,000-mile footprint. Our in-household talent continues to elevate the Laurel Highlands as a destination of decision.”

The Laurel Highlands area delivers people from close to the world many thanks to sights this kind of as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Positioned in Mill Run, Fayette County, the UNESCO Entire world Heritage website expects to draw in its 7 millionth tourist this yr.

The 12 months-spherical elegance of the Laurel Highlands has been acknowledged 2 times by nationwide publications in the earlier year, as Superior Housekeeping named it the best Scenic Street Vacation in its Ideal Family members Travel Awards section, and United states of america Now honored the location as just one of the 10 Finest Slide Foliage Locations.

The Fantastic Allegheny Passage, which has been rated as a person of the nation’s leading 10 leisure trails by Usa Today, is one more attribute that attracts global vacationers. The majority of the 150-mile trail, which connects Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, operates by means of the Laurel Highlands.

It attracts 1 million customers for every year, like site visitors from all 50 states and about 40 countries. It has helped rejuvenate communities such as Confluence and Connellsville, with cyclists turning them into path cities by supporting restaurants and lodging solutions together the Hole.

Somerset was named 1 of the major little towns for experience in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast in 2022. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine bestowed the honor on Somerset many thanks to its proximity to extraordinary out of doors leisure functions ranging from climbing, biking and whitewater rafting to hunting, fishing and downhill skiing.

In addition to 8 point out parks and a pair of state forests, the Laurel Highlands is residence to 3 Countrywide Parks Providers web sites: the Flight 93 Countrywide Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Friendship Hill National Historic Internet site. The Allegheny Railroad National Historic Web-site and Johnstown Flood Nationwide Memorial are in close by Cambria County.

Incorporate that with Fort Ligonier, the Compass Inn Museum and Historic Hannah’s City – all found in Westmoreland County, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary this calendar year – and there is plenty of history in the Laurel Highlands.

Julie Donovan, Fort Ligonier’s director of marketing and public relations, said Nationwide Vacation and Tourism Week is an option to master the gains of touring – even if it is in your yard.

“It’s a wonderful time to find out the amazing locations within just your very own property region,” Donovan explained. “You do not have to vacation much or commit a lot of funds to chill out, have exciting and learn new activities. If you are lucky plenty of to stay in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, you are going to locate an endless checklist of cultural and historic websites, loved ones sights and out of doors recreation venues surrounded by gorgeous mountains and valleys.

“As a seasoned tourism specialist, I have been so lucky to see the good financial impression and improved quality of everyday living the vacation and tourism market has had for our location,” Donovan mentioned. “We are so appreciative for the endeavours of the GO Laurel Highlands business and what they do to appeal to thousands and thousands of readers just about every 12 months to the region, in particular those who adore history.”

GO Laurel Highlands will work to catch the attention of website visitors from within just driving length of the location and outside of. In the past yr, reps have attended trade reveals in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston and even London. Visitors to Pittsburgh Intercontinental Airport are greeted by pictures of the Laurel Highlands many thanks to a advertising and marketing initiative there, and the group has partnered with the Baltimore Ravens to draw in people from that region as nicely as the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose brand name extends nicely beyond Pennsylvania.

“Travel is at the heart of the Laurel Highlands, powering the economic system, developing careers and strengthening our community’s society and id,” claimed Laura Argenbright, director of artistic system and marketing and advertising at GO Laurel Highlands. “This National Travel and Tourism 7 days, we are very pleased to celebrate all that vacation does for our neighborhood now, and all that it will lead in the potential.”

Eric Knopsnyder is the director of public relations and local community outreach for GO Laurel Highlands, the location marketing and advertising group for Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties. He can be attained at [email protected].