The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

August 16, 2013

Economic generator

We welcome CVB’s sports travel director

— Considering our region’s love affair with athletics, a new sports travel program of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau would seem to be a natural fit here.

The travel/tourism industry’s role in our economy continues to grow, and why not? We have so much to offer, so much to see. We applaud the CVB staff’s forward-thinking in initiating a new venture. 

“The sports travel industry is really proving itself to be recession-resistant,” Lisa Rager, the bureau’s executive director, told our Dave Sutor.

“When people are looking at how they’re going to spend their dollars, where they’re going to travel, they’re always going to participate in what their kids or grandkids are doing. They might give up that weeklong vacation at the beach, but, if little Johnny’s playing in a tournament, you know the family’s going to be there.”

What better example than last week’s All American Amateur Baseball Association tournament, which annually lures hundreds of players, family members and fans from

as far away as New Orleans?

These people are spending thousands of dollars over the course of a tournament at motels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and, yes, taking in tourist sites and learning about our fascinating history.

Yet another example is the growing incidence of travel hockey teams. Just ask parents and grandparents of young hockey players to give you an estimate how much is spent in towns over the course of a season.

Heading up the CVB’s new program is Jennifer Bergey, who previously worked with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania football team’s operations.

We welcome her to Johnstown.

It will be Bergey’s job to help generate economic development through

visitor spending. A study has determined growing the local participation sports travel industry could annually bring an additional $3 million or more into the area.

That’s nothing to sneeze at.

We hope Bergey also can play a role in helping the city of Johnstown get more usage out of Point Stadium and the county put more events in the War Memorial Arena.

Commenting on our website, www.tribdem.

com, Tim Jones said, “I’ve long said this could be a nice revenue generator for the area. This city promotes small events well. Traveling youth sports leagues are en vogue. The region does have facilities to make them happen.

“Good luck on your endeavor.”

We agree.

We’ve seen the CVB’s eye-popping results in expanding events such as the Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally and the Cambria City PolkaFest. Squeezing even more dollars out of our tourism industry through sporting events would be welcome indeed.

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