CHAMPION (Dec. 4, 2023) – Forty-five Somerset County tourism-related businesses and organizations were awarded a record total of $607,832 during a presentation Monday at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

The annual Somerset County Tourism Grant Program is funded by revenues generated by the Somerset County Lodging Tax. Awards are granted annually on the basis of merit as determined by the Somerset County Tourism Grant Review Committee and administered by the Somerset County commissioners and GO Laurel Highlands, the county’s official destination marketing organization. Since the program’s inception, $7.18 million has been awarded in tourism grants. A full list of grant recipients will be available online at  

“Somerset County commissioners and GO Laurel Highlands are excited to be able to award almost $610,000 in tourism grants to our businesses and non-profits to promote, advertise and market tourism in Somerset County,” said Somerset County Commissioner Colleen R. Dawson, who serves on the grant review committee. “The tourism grants, made possible by the hotel tax levied on overnight stays, are primarily funded by out-of-county visitors. This infusion of dollars is a boon to our recipients with no effect on county taxpayers. Knowing the huge impact of tourism on this county’s economy, we must all continue to market Somerset County and all we have to offer. To have these dollars available to be injected back into the tourism base is a critical component to our businesses to being successful.”

The combined total of $607,832 was an increase of 17.4% from last year, and the number of grants awarded rose from 41 to 48. (The Confluence Tourism Association, Meyersdale Area Historical Society and Somerset County Recreation and Trails Association each received a marketing grant and a visitor center grant.)  Grant submission requests increased by three to 51.

In addition to Dawson, grant review committee members included: George Coyle, general manager of Somerset Med Services; Dave Runco, senior director of lodging operations for Seven Springs/Hidden Valley resorts; John Weir of PBS Coals; and Laura Argenbright, Director of Creative Strategy for GO Laurel Highlands.