Visitors bureau

The Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce is a private membership trade organization. It receives hotel taxes to provide tourist promotion for the county under the name Lycoming County Visitors Bureau. The Chamber and Visitors Bureau are, in effect, a hybrid organization with two separate functions, one supported by private membership funding and the other by public funding. In 2013, the hotel taxes ($846,692) made up almost half of the Chamber’s total income. The Chamber has not adequately delivered the tourist promotion services they have contracted to perform and the County Commissioners have failed to hold them accountable. Eighty-five percent of the tourist promotion agencies in Pennsylvania are not affiliated with a chamber. The County should dissociate the Visitors’ Bureau from the Chamber so it can operate as an independent organization that will serve all of Lycoming County’s tourism interests.

Jon Bogle