Hershey is hopping this summer as restaurants, hotels fill up in ‘The Sweetest Place on Earth’

Hotel rooms are booked, diners are reserving tables at popular spots like Houlihan’s, Fenicci’s of Hershey and The Chocolate Avenue Grill and big-name concerts are back at Hersheypark Stadium.

The region’s biggest attraction, Hersheypark, is operating at full capacity.

Nearly 18 months into the pandemic, Hershey is back in business.

It’s a stark contrast to last summer’s bumpy ride when tourism dropped due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions. Now visitors are streaming back as all signs point to a rebound.

“Everybody is so tired of being cooped up,” said Phil Guarno, owner of Fenicci’s of Hershey and Phillip Arthur’s Ice Cream in Hershey. “Let’s get in the car and drive three hours and go to the Sweetest Place on Earth.”

“The town is strong. The town is rockin’,” Guarno added.

An uptick in regional tourism combined with pent-up demand and a willingness to spend money are likely fueling interest in travel this summer. In fact, U.S. travelers are forecast to spend $153.7 billion on summer vacations this year, about 50% more than they spent in 2019, according to a recent study from Allianz Partners USA.

Mary Smith, CEO and president of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, said some attractions in Hershey are reporting attendance at approximately 70% to 80% of the levels of 2019 during the same time.

“It’s certainly promising, indeed,” she said.

Hershey Gardens has 3,500 roses in 175 varieties in full bloom. June 8, 2021. Dan Gleiter | [email protected]

‘We’re definitely coming back’

The number of visitors at The Hershey Story Museum is on par with 2019 attendance figures, while attendance at Hershey Gardens is up considerably, said Anthony Haubert, spokesman for The M.S. Hershey Foundation.

“It’s obvious that people are eager to get out, and we’re happy they’re visiting our properties,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hershey-area business owners like Guarno say tourism is nearing pre-pandemic levels and far exceeding last summer….

Article Source: www.pennlive.com

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