Happy Valley Adventure Bureau offices, Centre County’s Visitor Center moving

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) announced “strategic changes” to drive local economic recovery efforts so that the county can capitalize on future tourism growth.

The changes include moving HVAB offices and Centre County’s Visitor Center to downtown State College, according to a press release.

On May 11, HVAB’s Board of Directors approved moving the Visitor Center services and administrative offices to a suite of offices on South Fraser Street in State College in March.

“As the Adventure Bureau itself works through recovery, the Board and staff feel strongly that the best use of resources at this time is fostering recovery of the hospitality industry and the business community through a focused investment in destination marketing,” HVAB President and CEO Fritz Smith said in the press release.

He said with COVID-19 restrictions lifting, more people are interested in travel. There will be tough competition for visitation across multiple sectors.

“We are already seeing a considerable marketing push from other regions and states,” he said. “We have to make sure that awareness about Happy Valley as a safe, affordable and family-friendly destination stands out in a crowded marketplace, and that means fully allocating limited resources where they are most needed right now.

“In the age of consumers’ growing reliance on technology, maintaining a large physical presence is not where our focus needs to be.”

HVAB Board Chairman Edward Tubbs believes it’s the right move for long-term success of the local economy and organization.

“From a public point of view, it’s certainly a big change, but internally, it is one that will set the stage for even greater things in the future,” he said.

Smith said the move will also give the Adventure Bureau time to map out a strategy to best provide access to information to all visitors to Happy Valley.

It’s reported that future plans being considered include additional satellite visitor centers at key entry points into the county and in outlying communities in addition to the existing one at the Bellefonte Train Station.

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The lease on the new office space runs through 2023, the release said. At that time, the HVAB will re-evaluate the location of its administrative offices and visitor services.

Until then, current visitor center highway signage will be relocated to direct visitors to downtown State College, and additional signage will be placed to elevate awareness about the Bellefonte satellite location.

“This past year has forced many businesses to rethink how they operate,” Smith said in the release. “As much as the pandemic has been difficult in so many ways, there have been many positive lessons learned. We need to be nimble in our efforts throughout Happy Valley.  This move is a starting point.”

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