Tourism: welcoming visitors and their economic impact

Washington County’s tourism industry was on full display this past month as we welcomed several major events to our area. Events such as the American Junior Golf Association, Whiskey Rebellion Festival, The Adios, Washington County Agricultural Fair, Monongahela 250, McSummerfest and the Washington Wild Things attracted thousands of visitors to our county and generated millions of dollars of economic impact for our local businesses and communities. In fact, it is estimated that the DICK’S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series alone generated several million dollars in impact through the hotel stays, shopping, restaurants and other activities of the international visitors participating in the series. And while we are at it, congratulations again to our local Washington County PONY Team and Manager Ben Miller for a great run in the series! However, the positive economic impact of tourism is even more significant when it is considered county-wide.

According to our latest reports, direct traveler spending in Washington County is approximately $703.7 million annually – up from $662.7 million from the prior year – and supports nearly 6,000 jobs. These impressive statistics allow Washington County to rank as the second highest in traveler spending among counties in the Greater Pittsburgh Region (after Allegheny County). These travel industry impacts also generate nearly $41 million in state and local taxes in our county. And of course, this overall tourism activity continues to drive business and promote Washington County’s high quality of life.

While these impacts are impressive, the success of our tourism industry is not driven by one organization, attraction, social media site or even billboard. It is the result of countless partnerships comprised of our tourism assets, county commissioners, hoteliers, businesses, nonprofit groups and dedicated volunteers – all working together to create a thriving tourism and travel economy in Washington County.

As the tourism season in our county enters the fall season, we will welcome events such as Corks and Kegs, West Alexander Fair, Dinosaur Train at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, EQT Washington and Greene Counties’ Covered Bridge Festival, All-Clad Factory Sale, Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest and countless other cultural, historical and entertainment events for our residents and visitors to enjoy. We know that the American Spirit Lives Here in Washington County, and we welcome our visitors to come and share it.

Jeff M. Kotula

President, Washington County Chamber of

Commerce & Tourism Promotion Agency