The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau (LHVB) will host a Tourism Grant Chat to review adjusted timeline to the 2017 Somerset County Tourism Grant Program. The Question and Answer session will be held at Somerset Country Club, October 5, 2016.

“In the years since the county’s tourism grant program was introduced, many tourism-related businesses have shared their desire to have the grants awarded early in the year in order to properly market and prepare for the busy spring and summer tourism seasons,” said Reneé Seifert, President and CEO of the LHVB. “We shared their ideas with the Somerset County Commissioners, who were happy to help adjust the timeline to better assist the county’s tourism businesses. For instance, by awarding grants earlier in the year, the recipients can plan their print, radio and television marketing in advance, which can help secure better placement and cost.”

In order to accommodate this adjustment, the grant application deadline has been moved and applications will be due by November 18, 2016, to give the grant committees time to review applications and present awards earlier in 2017. Attendees will receive criteria for marketing and visitor center grants at the conclusion of the event.  

The annual tourism grant program is administered by the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, the county’s official destination marketing organization and the Somerset County Commissioners. Since the program’s inception, nearly $3.9 million has been awarded to tourism-related entities throughout the county.

Tourism is big business for Somerset County. According to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office’s most recent Annual Economic Impact Travel Report, travelers spent more than $1.83 billion in the Laurel Highlands region in 2014, a 2.8% increase from 2013. The region had the second highest share of travelers’ dollars going towards lodging and third highest in food, beverage and shopping among the state’s 11 tourism regions. Somerset County generated more than $387 million in visitor spending along with 3,331 jobs in the tourism sector.

The Tourism Grant Chat will be held 9-11 a.m., Wednesday, October 5, at Somerset Country Club. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Attendees will receive grant criteria and applications at the event’s conclusion. This event is free, but reservations are required and can be made by contacting Rachel Roehrig at or 724-238-5661, ext. 101. Deadline to RSVP is Friday, September 30. 

About the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau®

The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania. Established in 1958, the LHVB implements year-round seasonal marketing campaigns throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to enhance awareness of the Laurel Highlands as a travel destination, which increases overnight stays, generates jobs and contributes to the economic growth and quality of life for the region. 

The visitors bureau and its partners influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose the Laurel Highlands through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services. Destinations within the area include three architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater ®, Kentuck Knob and Duncan House – Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the Flight 93 National Memorial, Idlewild and Soak Zone, whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park and much more. 

Located within 200 miles of the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland and Washington D.C., the Laurel Highlands can be easily accessed from exits 67, 75, 91 and 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.