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Wayne tourist grants awarded

By TOM KANE

HONESDALE, PA — The 2011 Tourism Promotion Grants were awarded to 13 county tourism programs by the Wayne County Commissioners on February 9.

The awards, amounting to $23,250, come from funds of the Hotel Tax Program.

“This year, the agencies asked for $40,000 but the program has suffered from the same economic difficulties that all businesses have experienced,” said Genevieve Reese, the chair of the promotion committee.

The committee is made up of representatives of Wayne County tourist businesses.

“Half of the money is distributed at the beginning of the tourist year and the rest is granted when the agencies make their report at the end of the funding period,” Reese said.

The money is restricted to payments for outreach efforts and not for any operational expense, she said. “Each agency chooses those geographical areas where visitors have come from in the past. Most will be aimed at New York City, but not restricted to that area.”

“It’s important to attract visitors to the county who will spend their money on county businesses,” said commissioner Tony Herzog. “This function is especially important today.”

Among the programs that were granted the highest amounts are the Downtown Hawley Partnership with $3,500 for website enhancement and non-peak event promotion, the Greater Honesdale Partnership with $4,000 for non-peak events, the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce with $3,000 for 12-month online marketing and enhancement and the Wayne County Arts Alliance with $2,000 for collaborative marketing for artist events for 2011.

“It’s very valuable for us to have the input of you business people to make the most valuable selection of the programs that work best,” said Brian Smith, chairman of the commissioners. “Without your participation, we would be in the dark as to how to proceed.”