The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau expects the third quarter of 2021 to financially outperform its strongest quarter from last year.
“It’s so strong, we’re outperforming quarters before Covid,” said Chris Barrett of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau in his Sept. 1 report to the county commissioners.
He said the hotel and occupancy tax is performing above expectation. As a result, the bureau plans to bump up its marketing budget going forward.
He said the bureau may be able to raise as much as $12 million from the hotel tax, which would put the Poconos in second place among Pennsylvania’s 11 regions.
The agency is expecting to spend $8.8 million in marketing in 2021, an increase of $2 million over what it spent in 2020.
“We developed a best- and worst-case budget scenario,” Barrett said. “And we’re already beyond the best-case scenario, even though we are limiting the spending to an in-between level.”
The bureau entered 2020 with a $2.2 million fund balance and was able to pay off all its bills during the 2020 pandemic-induced shutdown.
“We were able to ride out that storm, and we started to generate revenues again after the shutdown,” Barrett said.
In 2019, the bureau spent $950,000 on media marketing and $15,000 on the visitor’s center. Last year, the bureau curtailed spending due to the pandemic, spending $493,000 on media marketing and $717,000, total, in the area.
This year, the organization is projecting a fund balance of $6.4 million in its first full year of being able to collect a 3 percent tax.
The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau has 443 active members, 58 of them Pike County residents. The visitors center in Milford had 1,100 visitors in August and 4,000 visitors so far this year.
“Tourism is what is driving us in every sector,” said Commissioners Chair Matthew Osterberg.
“Tourism is what is driving us in every sector.” Commissioners Chair Matthew Osterberg