Destination Gettysburg is receiving a $100,000 boost from the County of Adams.
The commissioners unanimously approved the allocation during their biweekly meeting Wednesday, which was held via conference call due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commissioners said the funding was necessary so Destination Gettysburg could promote Adams County tourism.
Commissioner Jim Martin said Destination Gettysburg has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because it relies heavily on lodging tax revenues.
“The pillow tax has obviously hit rock bottom since tourism has dropped off,” Martin said. “They appeared before us and made a plea to deploy this marketing program. It is vital to get our tourism back as soon as possible.”
Commissioner Randy Phiel said commissioners privately met with Destination Gettysburg President Norris Flowers about two weeks ago during what he termed an “informational session.” The county was impressed with Destination Gettysburg’s cost-cutting measures such as staff furloughs and pay cuts, Phiel said. Flowers did not address the board Wednesday.
Commissioner Marty Qually said it is likely Destination Gettysburg’s financial struggles will continue throughout 2020 because tourism is not expected to return to normal levels.
“This is the best group to market that we are not only a destination but promote that we are a safe destination,” Qually said.
The $100,000 allocation will come from the county’s lodging tax reserve fund, Controller John Phillips said. The county receives 12.5 percent of the lodging tax and it must be used for historic preservation or economic development, he said.
Last week, Flowers unveiled a three-phase recovery plan to Destination Gettysburg members.
The first aimed at uniting the Adams County community while asking for local support from loyal customers. The second, which is currently being executed, reminds tourists from surrounding areas what Gettysburg has to offer when restrictions are lifted.
The third phase, which begins once travel bans and shelter-in-place mandates are lifted, will include aggressive print, social media, digital, radio, billboard and targeted web traffic advertising campaigns, said Kristy Cramer, Destination Gettysburg director of marketing.
When contacted after the meeting, Flowers expressed appreciation for the county’s support of Destination Gettysburg.
“We are pleased that the County Commissioners approved and support this stimulus program. Our goal is to encourage visitors back so businesses can open and get employees working,” Flowers wrote in an email. “It’s a win-win situation. The county is using lodging tax revenue to reinvest in getting businesses open, employees back at work while bringing our visitors and the money they spend back to the County.”