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Franklin County tourism guide set to go to press

August 16, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After launching a Web site two months ago, Franklin County is ready to get the presses rolling on a 32-page events guide touting the county's tourism opportunities.

The county opened bids Tuesday for printing 25,000 to 30,000 copies of the events guide, 15,000 of which would be distributed to state welcome centers and travel agencies, Director of Tourism Janet Pollard told the Board of County Commissioners. Three local printing companies submitted bids ranging from $13,910 to $22,586, and a contract could be awarded today.

The events guide, which Pollard said features "do, dine and stay" sections, along with information about festivals and other events into next spring, will be replaced next year by a visitors guide that will be published annually.

In June, the county launched its tourism Web site - www.explorefranklincountypa.com - but Pollard told the commissioners a printed visitor's guide is another important element in tourism promotion.

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"People don't take their laptops with them when they travel (Interstate) 81," she said.

"I think it's very nice we're controlling our own destiny" in tourism, Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said. The county had been part of the Hershey-Capital Region Visitors Bureau, but withdrew about three years ago.

"I'm convinced we got lost in the effort," said Elliott, with Franklin County getting crowded out by that bureau's promotions of Hersheypark, Gettysburg National Battlefield and other attractions in southcentral Pennsylvania.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau is funded primarily through a hotel tax that is expected to generate about $450,000 this year, according to the 2007 budget.

Pollard said the county's visitors bureau earlier this month also began running 15-second radio spots in the Pittsburgh area promoting local peaches.

"You go to Hershey for a kiss. You come to Franklin County for peaches," Elliott said. "That's the whole point of niche marketing."

"We're blazing our own trail," Pollard said.

Pollard said she would like to have copies of the events guide soon so that some are available for the Quad-State Legislative Conference Aug. 23 in Martinsburg, W.Va. Tourism officials from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania will be reporting on tourism initiatives at the conference, she said.

The tourism bureaus from the region also are jointly developing a brochure promoting its shared attractions, among them Civil War history and agriculture, Pollard said.

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