The Economic Impact of Tourism on Huntingdon County

Those of us who have the good fortune to call the Raystown Lake Region home understand that we live in an area that draws a lot of visitors.  In fact, Huntingdon County averages more than 1.6 million visitor-days per year.  For the record, our definition of a visitor is someone who travels beyond their normal travel zone to reach his/her destination.  A visitor-day is one person in the area for 24 hours, or 4 people in the area for 6 hours, etc.  From that, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that we entertain more than 2 million visitors per year in Huntingdon County.

Huntingdon County Tourism Direct Sales 2009-2010

Visitor spending in Huntingdon County 2009-2010

Those 1.6 million visitor days brought with them to Huntingdon County $144.1 million in 2010 in visitor spending at local businesses, an increase of 11.6% from 2009.  Visitors spend money on the obvious things: lodging ($10.1 million), food and beverage ($32.8 million), retail ($25.1 million), recreation and entertainment ($27.3 million), and transportation ($48.8 million).

Huntingdon County Visitor Spending and Employment Trends 2005-2010

Visitor spending and tourism industry employment trends in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania 2005-2010

Our tourism industry is made up of businesses and employees that have direct contact with those visitors, for instance hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, retailers, campgrounds, museums, etc.  However, we only count an estimated portion of these businesses’ employees based on what wages/salaries could be supported by visitor spending.  In other words, if John Doe’s Diner employs ten people, and 80 percent of the Diner’s revenue is from local residents, then only two employees (20%) would be estimated to be part of the tourism industry.  Additionally, if a campground only has employees four months of the year, it would take three employees during those four months to equate to one employee for the statistic.  In 2010, Huntingdon County’s tourism industry consisted of an estimated 1,273 employees, a growth of 1.6% over 2009.

Huntingdon County Tourism Industry Impacts 2009-2010

Impacts of visitor spending, tourism industry employment and taxes generated by Huntingdon County’s tourism industry in 2009 and 2010

Employment wages and salaries is not the only financial impact of visitor spending on a destination.  As visitors spend money in an area, they are also paying state sales taxes on goods and services, local amusement taxes on entertainment, hotel occupancy taxes on their indoor accommodations, not to mention a whole host of taxes on the gasoline or diesel fuel they use to power their car, truck, van , RV,  and boat.  On top of the taxes on visitor spending, the businesses serving those visitors pay taxes on their properties, corporate net income, and a share of wage taxes for their employees.  The employees also pay taxes on their income, local services taxes, etc.  All told in 2010, the tourism industry in Huntingdon County yielded $7.6 million in tax revenue for our state, county and municipal governments, and another $6.8 million in federal taxes.  What this all means is that because Huntingdon County draws visitors and their money to the area, the average household saves $450.34 per year in state and local taxes.


Tourism Economics and Longwoods Research: “The Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism in Pennsylvania,” February 2012

US Census Bureau, “Huntingdon County Quick Facts” from Census 2010

Categories: HCVB News | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Economic Impact of Tourism on Huntingdon County


    Matt, good stuff here. Would your numbers include visitors to Juniata? We get around 1,000 prospective students + parents visit Juniata each year. We also get folks visiting for homecoming, alumni weekend, sports events etc. So the total number is 3,000+ I would guess. Tom Kepple

    • Thanks Tom!

      Yes, Juniata visitation would be included. In fact, Juniata College is probably our biggest attraction in winter and spring.

  2. Genna Welsh Kasun


    I want to encourage people to fill out online reviews — whether on google, yahoo, yelp, or elsewhere — to guide Lake visitors to town (and make them feel more comfortable doing so) now that so many people take in peer reviews on their smartphones while venturing, well, anywhere.

    Let me know if I can be of help in promoting this goal. I am motivating some of my fellow Leadership Huntingdon County class members to do this, but if I can get the word out to some others, maybe we can add some more $$$ to the amazing stats you’ve collected above. Thanks for explaining them! I’ve always wondered how such stats were calculated.

    Happy Spring!
    Genna Kasun
    kasung at juniata dot edu

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