WCVB emphasizes rural tourism to Pa. leaders

Pennsylvania is a large and very diverse state.

It includes dozens of counties dominated by forests in a rural setting as well as two of the top 30 metropolitan areas in the country.

So it’s not surprising that the needs of areas across the state vary.

A conference recently held in Gettysburg gave Warren County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Casey Ferry a chance to drive home that point.

The event was held by the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and included destination marketing organizations, like the WCVB, from across the state.

“It is such a great opportunity to meet with directors from around the state, to hear what works for them and what doesn’t,” Ferry said. “I’ve learned that pretty much any issue I have come across, there is someone else in the same boat and often find counsel in those who have overcome it themselves.

“To have people to work through it with is amazing.”

One of those people at this event was state Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger, who outlined the Shapiro Administration’s tourism efforts.

“During the Q&A portion, I asked Secretary Siger if the rural communities would be remembered in the governor’s plans and was told that we would be,” Ferry said. “I requested that the administration please remember the diversity that is Pennsylvania, and that, while we are not all a Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, our economies rely a lot on tourism, too.

“I look forward to holding their feet to the fire and making sure rural communities are a priority.”

The event included legislative updates, a talk on inclusivity in tourism and topics ranging from funding and sports tourism to statewide marketing and protecting tourism funding.

Those contacts with tourism leaders from across the state have spurred ongoing discussions.

“I have found the PRLA to be incredibly helpful as I have navigated my role as executive director of the Warren County Visitors Bureau,” Ferry said. “The DMO directors across the state meet virtually twice a month to discuss current issues in the industry, listen to speakers, learn of new marketing opportunities, and so much more.”

The conferences are then sprinkled throughout the year.

“This is my third in-person PRLA conference I have attended,” she said. “Every time, I learn more in those few days than anytime else. From the speakers, to the topics, to the opportunities, and the networking, it never disappoints.

“Lisa Card and I have been working very hard to do our best by Warren County, and we want people to know what we are up to,” she added. “We have a lot on our plate and do so much more than people realize. And we love it. We truly believe there is no better place in the world.”


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