WILLIAMSPORT -- For two weeks out of the year -- when Little League Baseball is king -- Lycoming County has zero trouble getting tourists to visit. But what about the rest of the year?
That is the problem many county commissioners are trying to solve, and they believe an increased hotel tax may be the solution. The increased revenue from the tax could be spent luring in more visitors, thanks to advertising.
Those familiar with the area, like Nigel Barnes, agree downtown Williamsport is certainly picturesque. In fact, Barnes came all the way from the nation's capital to study at Lycoming College.
"I didn't know much about Williamsport other than it was the big thing about Little League," said Barnes, a senior at Lycoming.
Commissioners believe Lycoming County has plenty of other attractions -- besides just Little League -- to offer tourists. That's why they are toying with the idea of increasing the hotel tax. That tax added onto hotel bills pays for advertising materials, like visitors' guides, put out by the Williamsport and Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
"We are a historic small city with big attractions. We are right on the river. We're just minutes away from hiking trails, scenic creeks, and waterfalls," said Allison Hirsch of Williamsport. "There's none of that in there."
Hirsch is one of the concerned citizens that showed up at the Commissioners' meeting. She wants to ensure that if the hotel tax in the county is increased -- from 3 percent to 5 percent -- that extra money will be spent on marketing.
"This is produced with public money," she said.
" I think you can agree that we are fighting to make sure we are not overpaying on salaries and benefits," replied Commissioner Rick Mirabito.
Others in the community tell Newswatch 16 they don't pay much attention to the county's tourism advertising unless it's on social media.
"Does Williamsport have an Instagram page? I think they should that would be really cool," said Jetta Harrison of Selinsgrove.
Lycoming County commissioners will vote next month on whether to increase the hotel tax. If the vote is a yes, it will go into effect sometime in July.