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Soaking in Serene Scenes of Luzerne County While Pumping Up Economy

LUZERNE COUNTY -- Monday marked the beginning of National Tourism Week. It is a vital part of the economy in northeastern Pennsylvania, bringing in close to $875 million to Luzerne County in 2014.

For a few friends from out-of-town, soaking in the county's serene scenes like Frances Slocum State Park happens pretty regularly.

"All the time! We're finishing grad school, so when our schedule permits," Colleen Deignan said.

With 7,000 people employed by tourism in the county, it's easy to find fun things to do for these Misericordia students. However, the hard part can be picking what new attraction or restaurant to try out.

"I think that there's a lot for a variety of ages, but especially for younger crowds," Deignan said.

Tourism is the second biggest money maker in the state, which is part of the reason why Visit Luzerne County has revamped its paper visitor guide.

It comes complete with fresh ideas for restaurants, hotels, and attractions for people of all ages. It also features plans for people on any budget.

"I think people still want to see it, feel it in their hands. We also have a website that backs up everything that is in the guide," Executive director for Visit Luzerne County, Janet Hall said.

Visit Luzerne County is funded solely on hotel tax money. The more people who visit the area, the more money can be spent marketing it.

"The more people that we bring in and put as we call heads in beds, the more dollars are generated for us to market the area and to help our local businesses," Hall said.

It's not just visitors who are discovering lovely parts of Luzerne County, people who have lived here their entire lives are finding new and fun things to do here, too.

"We have our beautiful mountains and our lakes, a lot of fun places to utilize with friends. I always stick up for our area because I think it's a fantastic place," Amy Viti of Sugar Notch said.

To pick up a copy of the guide, you can stop by the Visitors Center on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre or go to VisitLuzerneCounty.com.