The Pocono region benefits from the boom in tourism

By LYLE T. GALLOWAY

WAYNE COUNTY, PA – Whether it’s canoeing down rivers, scenic trails, or window shopping on a busy main street, Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountain area has become a home away from home. for many people over the years.

“People use it as a refuge,” said Chris Barrett, president and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB).

Barrett, along with other members of the Visitors Bureau, presented their annual tourism report to Wayne County Commissioners at their weekly meeting.

The bureau reported that 2021 has all the potential to become one of their best years ever for tourism.

The group’s total first quarter 2021 revenue was $ 3.1 million, with $ 1.1 million in net income.

Revenues from hotel taxes and short-term rents are also steadily increasing. Hotel tax revenues currently stand at $ 2.9 million, up from $ 1.9 million in 2019 and $ 1.8 million in 2020. With short-term rentals, such as Airbnbs and resorts Resort, each room rented in the Pocono area brought in a daily average of $ 214, as compared to $ 129 in Philadelphia and $ 106 in Pittsburgh.

“The brick and mortar resorts had incredible demand, so as soon as we went from the yellow phase to the green phase, it was like turning a light switch on and off. People wanted to come out, they saw the Poconos as a viable option, which meant a very, very strong year for us, ”Barrett said.

The increase in income has resulted in a positive fund balance for the office. Its projected end-of-year fund balance is currently $ 5.1 million.

On the strength of this new positive assessment, the PMVB has embarked on an advertising and marketing campaign. He plans to develop advertisements on social networks and on television. He purchased execution slots in the New York, Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre / Scranton and Altoona areas. He’s also working on advertising details with Verizon Fios, Hulu, and ABC.

Beyond its influence on the territory through tourism, the PMVB also seeks to have multiple impacts in a different way.

It plans to relaunch its “Pick up the Poconos” anti-waste campaign and its highway adoption program. It is also actively updating its “Pocono Promise” initiative, a reciprocal commitment between the office and visitors to adhere to public health and safety guidelines.

“One thing that I think we should all appreciate is that we have a very marketable product in our region where we live. I just drove all the way to Nashville and back and there’s no more beautiful place than our own backyard, ”said Commissioner Brian Smith.

Act 33

Cheryl Davies, Director of Tax Services for Wayne County, spoke to the commissioners on behalf of Bill 33.

Bill 33 began as House Bill 264, which was signed by Governor Tom Wolf on June 30. Law 33 requires all bidders engaging in tax sales of real estate to register at least 10 days before the initial sale.

In addition to the pre-registration, a certificate form must be completed. The consent form ensures that the applicant has not been late in paying property taxes and has no housing code violations on file.

“The reason for this law was to try to eliminate, or make it less applicable for the landowner, or bidders, to be lax in maintaining their properties in a safe and hygienic manner,” Davies said.

If it turns out that a potential bidder has violated the housing code, the Tax Services Department will notify municipalities of all people bidding on the department’s tax sales. They will also be prohibited from bidding on any property in this district.

In order to bid on a property in a Tax Sale, the Bidder’s Certification and Registration Forms must be completed and a $ 25 non-refundable pre-registration fee must be paid. Bidders must also provide their driver’s license or other form of identification.

Following Davies’ presentation, the commissioners put forward a motion to adopt the pre-registration fee and all the provisions of Law 33 of 2021.

The new rules come into effect for the Upset Tax Sale, scheduled for September 17.

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