Reading Visitors Bureau Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In April 1963, a group of forward-looking business and civic leaders organized the Reading-Berks County Pennsylvania Dutch Travel Association.

The region’s rich history and cultural heritage, they believed, could draw tourists whose dollars would strengthen the region’s economy.

The association has undergone several name changes and had several homes, but 50 years, later the founders’ vision still guides the Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“It’s still our history, art, architecture and the sheer beauty of our region that attracts visitors,” association president Crystal A. Seitz said Monday.  “Tourism touches everybody’s life in Berks County.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=511449

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Berks Commissioners Expand Hotel Tax To Include Entire County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All hotels and motels in Berks County must begin collecting a 5 percent room tax starting Oct. 1.

The county commissioners in a 2-1 vote Thursday extended the tax to facilities beyond the 15-mile radius of the Sovereign Center established when the tax went into effect March 1, 1997.

The tax currently produces about $1.7 million annually, with 80 percent going to the Berks County Convention Center Authority to repay money borrowed to build the center and 20 percent going to the Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The expansion is expected to bring in an additional $310,000 in 2014.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=488474

‘We Have To Do Better’

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City statistics showing that the once-declining number of violent crimes in Reading began to edge up in 2012 drew a variety of reactions Thursday from city, county and community leaders.

Most agreed the trend means it is even more pressing to work on the follow-up ideas coming from last week’s crime summit.

Released Wednesday, the statistics also show crime is less than it was a decade ago.

But that brought a warning: Don’t accept the situation as the city’s new normal.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=445862

Tourism In Berks Bouncing Back

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether they soaked up sounds at Berks Jazz Fest, watched cars tear up the track at Maple Grove Raceway or savored roasted ox at the Kutztown Folk Festival, tourists have increased their spending in Berks County.

A state report on tourism in calendar year 2010, the latest year for which numbers are available, showed Berks tourism spending increased by 10.3 percent from 2009 to $687.7 million.

It was, for Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau President Crystal A. Seitz, a healthy dose of good news after a difficult recession.

Seitz said, “I am in love with those numbers.”

Read more: http://businessweekly.readingeagle.com/?p=3003