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Centre County Tourism

As thousands of visitors are expected in Centre County this week for various arts festivals, the agency in charge of the county’s tourism promotion has released new economic impact information.

It is festival week in Centre County, with lots of visitors. Throughout the past year, the number of tourists and the money they have spent has reached historic levels.

“Last year, the adventure bureau set a goal of five million visitors and one billion dollars in visitor spending by the end of 2024. I’m pleased to report we have already achieved that goal.”

A billion dollars in tourism generated business for the county. Penn State football games, of course, have played a significant factor.

“Home football games are the biggest drivers of sports economic impact. Imagine that, sports being king here, generating 87 million in visitor spending.”

The number of hotel and motel bookings puts Centre County among the busiest counties in the state. But there’s still some post-pandemic lag for the tourism business, and that has the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau looking at new options, and new markets, some even halfway around the world.

“Speaking of China, we are going to put some effort into that market. There are over eight thousand Chinese students at Penn State University. Their parents, when they come here, spend a lot of money. They go to a lot of restaurants, and they stay for long periods of time.”

On Tuesday, it was announced that Centre County will host the 2026 State Games of America, an Olympic type sports festival that’s expected to include more than 8-thousand athletes.

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