By Jennifer Learn-Andes, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
Luzerne County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is putting the finishing touches on a new video promoting the area’s amenities and attractions.
Videos are a valuable tourism marketing tool, and the current one is at least a decade old, said bureau Executive Director Janet Hall.
“There have been so many additions to attractions and things to do in the area since then,” Hall said, citing as examples the region’s hiking and biking trail expansions, the Sophia Coxe Memorial Foundation & Education Center near Freeland, and the Alice C. Wiltsie Performing Arts Center in Hazleton.
The video will be posted on the bureau website, www.tournepa.com, when it is completed in about two weeks, with an email blast planned to promote the link. Copies of the video also will be sent to charter bus companies, attempting to generate interest in trips to this area.
Travel writers also will be alerted. Representatives of several publications, including Susquehanna Life and Recreation News, visited the area last year, Hall said.
“This will really be promoted heavily,” said Hall, a 20-year bureau employee who was appointed to head the organization in April.
Area residents also might appreciate the new video that plugs this region, seeing Luzerne County from a new perspective, she said. Her goals include an initiative to raise community awareness about visitors’ perception of the area.
“We hear it all the time, how much people enjoyed their time here,” Hall said. “People coming in see the charm and say there’s lots to do here.”
Coal Creative, a multimedia marketing firm in downtown Wilkes-Barre, will be paid around $2,000 to complete the four-minute video, she said.
To save money, the bureau collected video submissions capturing most featured sites, reducing the need to pay for new footage, she said.
Among the attractions included in the video, according to Hall: the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders baseball team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey team, the Delaware and Lehigh Trail, the historic Frederick Stegmaier Mansion in Wilkes-Barre, the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino in Plains Township, Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township, Eckley Miners’ Village in Foster Township, and the Nathan Denison House in Forty Fort, built in 1790.
Plans for self-guided Colonial, art, and hiking/biking tours also are in the works, Hall said.
“We have a lot of initiatives going on,” she said. “We’re going to target different demographics.”
The agency has a $705,500 proposed budget for 2017 and relies primarily on its receipt of 1 percent of the county’s 5 percent hotel tax. The agency has budgeted $512,000 in hotel tax receipts in 2017.
“We receive no county taxpayer dollars,” Hall said. “We are helping with economic development at zero cost to the county taxpayers.”
The agency might relocate its office from Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre to the historic former New Jersey Central train station at the corner of Market Street and Wilkes-Barre Boulevard. An investment group led by Pittston engineer and developer George Albert purchased the station in April and is completing renovations.