Tourism & Hospitality

As attractions, restaurants, shops, and hotels were unable to welcome visitors due to COVID-19, Pennsylvania's previously thriving travel & tourism industry was no longer a significant economic driver. Spending by domestic and international travelers declined by 44%, shuttering many local businesses and putting residents out of work. 

The US Travel Association has provided the following statistics to explain the importance of travel to Pennsylvania. In 2019:

  • Domestic and international travelers spent $30.3 billion exploring our state
  • For every $1 million spent in Pennsylvania by domestic and international travelers, 7.8 jobs are created
  • The 236,196 travel-supported jobs represented 4.5% of Pennsylvania’s total private industry employment, without which our unemployment rate of 4.5% would have been 8.8% of the labor force
  • Travel spending generated $3.9 billion to federal, state, and local governments, which help fund jobs and public programs such as police, firefighters, teachers, road projects, and convention centers.

Cumberland Valley is split between two congressional districts: PA-10 and PA-13. Based on information from the US Travel Association, in PA-10, the travel and tourism industry generated $1.8 billion in spending and provided 14,813 jobs with a payroll of $535.3 million. In PA-13, the travel and tourism industry generated $1.3 billion in spending and provided 12,010 jobs with a payroll of $394.3 million.

Read more about the positive impacts of tourism and hospitality in the Cumberland Valley including job growth and revitalization and preservation efforts.

Throughout 2021, CAEDC and the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau will work with community partners to promote our local businesses and encourage safe travel to the region. We continue to recognize the essential role that all hospitality businesses contribute to a vibrant quality of life in Cumberland Valley and look forward to harnessing "The Power of Travel" to welcome back visitors and help to reinvigorate our community.

Small Businesses

Small businesses (less than 500 employees) have a powerful impact on the local economy and quality of life. They have generated 64 percent of new jobs since 1995, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Read about how these businesses, in general, support and shape their communities.


According to the National Retail Federation retail is the nation's largest private-sector employer, supporting 52 million jobs in communities across the country. In Pennsylvania,

  • 162.8K retail establishments
  • 1.2 million jobs as a result of direct retail employment and 2 million (or 25% of all jobs in PA) jobs supported by the retail industry
  • $51.3 billion direct impact on GDP
  • $141.7 billion total impact on GDP
  • $35.8 billion direct labor income
  • $91.7 billion total labor income

Restaurant Industry

Read more about the importance of local restaurants to Cumberland Valley's economy.

The restaurant industry was particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and is only now starting to see a recovery.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in leisure and hospitality in Pennsylvania hit a low in April 2020 and has since rebounded by almost 88% However, this rebound is still 20% below the high recorded in February 2020. In the Harrisburg-Carlisle region, numbers indicate that employment for June 2021 appears to have recovered to pre-pandemic numbers (January 2020). 
  • According to the National Restaurant Association, all 50 states and the District of Columbia added restaurant jobs in June. In 9 states, eating and drinking place employment in June 2021 was higher than their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. But, when compared to June 2019, only 4 states had higher restaurant employment levels in June 2021.
  • The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association's most recent National Restaurant Association Economic Impact Survey Results (released April 2021) highlighted the following: 
    • 84% of Pennsylvania operators say their total sales volume in March 2021 was lower than it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19. On average, sales were 30% below normal levels.
    • 93% of Pennsylvania operators say their current staffing level is lower than what it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19. 53% of restaurants are currently more than 20% below normal staffing levels.
    • 84% of Pennsylvania operators say they have job openings that are difficult to fill and do not expect labor challenges to ease after the pandemic is over. 89% said that recruiting and retaining employees was likely to be more difficult after the pandemic is over.
    • 80% of Pennsylvania operators say their profitability margin is lower than it was prior to COVID-19.