I am writing on behalf of the Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism (PATT) which is the state wide organization that represents Pennsylvania’s Travel and Tourism Industry. Our members are the 49 convention and visitors bureaus or Tourism Promotion Agencies (CVBs/TPA’s) in Pennsylvania as well as the other private sector business representing our travel and tourism industry throughout the Commonwealth.
The County Commissioners resolution to certify the WCCBI as the designated Tourism Promotion Agency concerns us. While we respect that these are local issues and we are all for evaluating these types of initiatives in a tough economy, we do have concerns that all the great work that WCVB does and has done, would get lost under the umbrella of another organization with a separate mission. We believe this sends the wrong message to other organizations that would like to use the hotel tax dollars for uses other then what has been established.
The WCVB Board of Directors felt that it was not in their best interest to merge with the WCCBI and that decision should be respected and supported. As the room tax law (Act 142 Section 1770.6) that covers Warren County says, the Commissioners have a right to vote on a resolution to designate another Tourism Promotion Agency (TPA) to receive the local room tax. That resolution then has to be ratified by at least 50% of the county population. While we wish it would not have come to that point, it has and we believe strongly that now that this process is underway it should be allowed to play out. Should the WCVB retain its status as the designated TPA then that mandate by the appropriate parties should be respected.
We are disappointed and concerned to see some of the accusations that have been reported in the press and the potential threat to withhold the room tax dollars if the WCVB remains as the designated TPA. No one ever wins when that happens and our industry will be impacted in a negative way throughout Pennsylvania, not just in Warren County.
In our opinion the Chamber has its crucial role in the community to promote and foster business and economic development and the TPA has its role to market the destination experience that is Warren County. Both organizations should respect those roles and support each other in that process they are separate roles.
Your WCVB partners are doing a great job in Warren County. We support your efforts and while we commend your partners including the WCCBI for their important work and mission to create a vibrant Warren County, we strongly support the continued viability of the Warren County Visitors Bureau and the continued use of room tax dollars to go towards those initiatives as outline above.
We wish Warren County continued success. You are a great partner in the success of Pennsylvania tourism.
Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism