Swiftwater, Monroe County – After several years of struggling, the Pocono region’s biggest industry is turning around. Tourism-related businesses had one of their best years ever last year. Next year things are expected to get even better.
People who work in the tourism industry attended the annual Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau Tourism Day at Mount Airy Casino Resort Tuesday. PMVB CEO Carl Wilgus smiled, "Tourism is back up, doing very well. We came off a great winter season."
Pocono Raceway CEO Brandon Igdalsky agreed. He said, "It's good to see because for so long you saw kind of a degradation of what the Pocono Mountains were and now you're starting to see everybody kind of ramping up and it's exciting to see what the future holds for the whole area."
The raceway is on the improvement action. Igdalsky has added adventure runs like the Tough Mudder. He’s also planning to add more entertainment like concerts and special events. He added, "We're bringing pumpkin throwing, pumpkin chunkin in October."
Water parks are expected to boost tourism even more. Next year Camelback and Kalahari will open water parks in Monroe County. "I think there's only one way the Pocono Mountains are going and that's straight up,” said Kalahari owner Todd Nelson.
Kalahari will focus on families and conventions that will bring thousands of people to the region. "Literally everyone benefits; restaurants, gas stations, shopping, retail,” smiled Nelson.