Andrew Miller, executive director of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau, discussed the value of the tourism economy in the Valley, emerging from the pandemic and local tourist destinations in The Daily Item’s latest One on One video interview.

When the pandemic set in in the month of March 2020, Miller said he was on daily conference calls addressing the potential impact.

“All the indicators were that it was just going to be decimating,” Miller said.

But, it was said destinations in Central Pennsylvania and similar areas of the state might fare well, all things considered, since attractions are largely outdoors and not wholly reliant on indoor venues like convention centers.

The Visitors Bureau reached out to its 300 members to ask about how they were faring and how the Bureau could help, Miller said. One example, they frequently updated the Bureau website about adjusted restaurant services and whether they were open.

“The first area that rebounded was outdoor recreation, through the roof,” Miller said. “We found out that state parks and state forests had a record number of attendees to the point they were no longer promoting they were open.”

“What we’ve seen is the trend of outdoor recreation increasing, that really has stayed the same if not gone even higher,” Miller said.

Miller spoke to how vital tourism is to the Valley’s economy. He advocates people living in the Valley explore “backyard tourism,” and spoke to how popular animal-centric attractions like Lake Tobias and T&D Cats have become.

The Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area is increasingly popular, too, Miller said, and spoke of how entrepreneurs can capitalize on that location and other outdoor recreation sites throughout the Valley.

Find the whole interview online at www.dailyitem.com.

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