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Our opinion: Tourism is key piece, but not a savior

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s “Great American Getaway” branding initiative should benefit Warren County.

Our region’s options for outdoor recreation fit perfectly with Shapiro’s campaign, one reason it was gratifying to see Shapiro come in for a hike and a video showcasing Warren County recently. Partnering with the state can only help all of the tourism businesses that count on visitors coming to Warren County to spend their money.

State officials are using your state tax dollars to showcase Pennsylvania’s status as a weekend getaway destination that is a stone’s throw away from major hubs along the East Coast, including New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

“We are excited about this new campaign as it fits perfectly in with Warren County, focusing on outdoor recreation, history, and culture- all of which we have in abundance,” Casey Ferry, executive director of the Warren County Visitors Bureau, said. “The state will be targeting the same markets we do, which will be a nice complement to our efforts.”

Tourism is a big part of our local economy. But as we eye Warren County’s future, particularly in the wake of the first public Warren Worx meeting held Wednesday, we’re reminded that we need to build something in our local economy that isn’t based on tourism. The problem with tourism is that tourists come and spend money – but then they go home, taking their dollars with them. Warren County’s future, in our opinion, lies in finding an economic niche that doesn’t depend on outsiders to bring their money. We need to generate it ourselves with good-paying jobs that can be used to bring in new residents to live in our houses, spend their money here year-round and have children to be educated in our schools.

The most recent census statistics aren’t encouraging for Warren County. As we talk about ways to market Warren County, one of the first questions to be answered should be this – what are we going to invest in to market ourselves to the people whose money stays here year-round?

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