Luzerne County seeking next tourism head

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - [email protected]
Janet Hall, executive director of the Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is retiring by the end of the year. - Times Leader file photo

Luzerne County is seeking a new tourism head because Janet Hall plans to retire by the end of the year, officials said Thursday.

Applications for the position — county Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director — are due Sept. 6, according to the posting at www.luzernecounty.org.

Advertised at a salary range of $60,000 to $70,000, the job calls for a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business marketing or travel/hospitality management, and at least five years of experience managing workers and finances in the hospitality field — ideally including work in a tourism bureau, it said.

County Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik said he wants to fill the position about three months before Hall’s departure so she can share her institutional knowledge.

“She has a lot of experience and contacts, and the only way to learn everything she knows is by sitting with her and going over it every day,” Parsnik said. “We want to make sure we do not miss anything.”

The agency has a self-sustaining $701,000 budget funded primarily by 1 percent of the county’s 5 percent hotel tax, officials said.

Hall said she started working at the bureau when it was created 22 years ago, initially as an administrative assistant for a year and then as director of sales and marketing until her promotion to executive director in 2016.

“It was a new department when I came on board, and I helped build it from the ground up. I don’t think people realize I’ve been behind the scenes for 22 years,” said Hall, 61, of Kingston.

Visitors spend more than $914 million in the county annually, according to an Oxford Economics study commissioned by the state tourism office, Hall said. Tourism supports more than 7,000 county jobs, she added.

While historic sites and trails are part of the pitch, Hall said her office also works on drawing athletic tournaments and events that benefit hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses.

“It’s not just bringing in somebody to visit a museum. It’s attracting visitors who will spend money in the area,” Hall said.

For example, thousands of visitors are expected to spend $3 million at county businesses this weekend when they arrive for a three-day convention at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Hotel tax receipts have continued to increase during Hall’s tenure overseeing the office, which she views as tangible evidence her office’s enhanced marketing efforts are working.

“We have a really great staff in place,” said Hall, who oversees four workers.

Hall said she alerted county administrators of her retirement plans early because she works with an extensive roster of community organizations and business leaders, state legislators and colleagues across the state and country to promote the county and share ideas.

“I want to help the county prepare for a smooth transition.”

Janet Hall, executive director of the Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is retiring by the end of the year.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_janet-hall.jpgJanet Hall, executive director of the Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is retiring by the end of the year. Times Leader file photo

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

[email protected]

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.