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2015 Great American Outdoor Show: Increased attendance, lodging, and economic impact in HHR.

Published: Mar 20, 2015

Tourism Officials report 2nd Annual Great American Outdoor Show generated $73 million economic impact, increased lodging and attendance.

2015 GAOS results include increased attendance, lodging, and economic impact of $73 million according to tourism officials

Positive second year for the largest consumer sports and outdoor show in the world held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.

Harrisburg, PA – Tourism Officials at the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) today released the results of the 2nd Annual Great American Outdoor Show (GAOS) held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center (FSC) in Harrisburg from February 7 – 15, 2015. The bureau’s report revealed an estimated $73 million impact on the Hershey Harrisburg Region, a 4 percent increase in the overall economic impact from the show’s inaugural year.

The research compiled by HHRVB revealed a 14 percent increase in hotel occupancy in Dauphin County during the show dates and nearly a 20 percent increase in the revenue per average room (RevPAR) for lodging properties this year. Highlights of the report also include an estimated 2.3 percent increase in attendance from last year based on parking and shuttle figures.

Great American Outdoor Show

Great American Outdoor Show 2015 -- By the Numbers

Attendance: 2.3% Increase in Attendance 2015 vs 2014.
Lodging: 14% Increase in Occupancy 2015 vs 2014 in Dauphin County.
Actual increases reported in 2015 = (Occupancy +13.75%); (ADR +4.5%); (RevPAR +19.5%). Based on STR lodging report for “demand/room-nights sold” during 10-days of show in 2014.

76% Increase in Occupancy 2015 vs 2013 in Dauphin County. Actual increases reported in 2015 = (Occupancy +76%); (ADR +5.6%); (RevPAR +85%). Based on STR lodging report for “demand/room-nights sold” during 10-days of show in 2013 when the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show was cancelled by Reed Exhibitions.
Impact: $73 Million Total Economic Impact (+4% from 2014).
The economic impact for 2015 represents a 4% increase over the $70 million impact calculated for the show in 2014 by the DMAI Event Impact Calculator.
City Tax: $180,000 in City Admission & Amusement Tax Revenue (+4% from 2014).
Anticipated tax revenue for 2015 based on ten percent (10%) tax rate applied to total estimated paid ticket sales for the GAOS in 2015. This represents a four percent (4%) increase over the $172,802 collected by the City of Harrisburg in 2014 from show producers.
Jobs: 8,000 Jobs Supported This includes the employment supported by all event-related business sales including indirect (B2B supply chain purchases) and induced (incomes spent in the local economy) business sales calculated for the show in 2015 by the DMAI Event Impact Calculator.


SOURCE: The official source of the results in this report must be attributed to The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB), a non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) accredited by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) officially serving Pennsylvania’s Dauphin and Perry counties. The organization is committed to actively marketing the region locally, domestically, and internationally to leisure and business travelers; meeting & convention planners; sporting event producers; and group tour leaders. Any questions regarding the information provided within this report should be directed to Rick Dunlap, Public Relations Director at or 717-884-3328.

DATA: Lodging research for this report was secured by HHRVB from STR, the leading global provider of competitive benchmarking, information services and research to the hotel industry. The results for Estimated Economic Impact and Jobs Supported within this report have been calculated by HHRVB using the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Event Impact Calculator developed for the travel & tourism industry by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: It was reported the NRA signed a 5-year agreement with the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center. Tell us how this deal will be mutually beneficial for the producer and the venue.

A: Having a 5-year agreement with the PA Farm Show Complex is a critical element to ensuring the long-term prosperity of the show. This agreement will have a positive impact on nearly everyone involved with the production of this show. One of the primary benefits will be a greater investment with the contractors, vendors, sponsors and suppliers involved with the show.

Q: In the second year of producing this new show what things were learned or what areas do you still see room for improvement or enhancements for future shows?

A: The NRA has been an exhibitor of the outdoor show in Harrisburg for over 30 years so that organization certainly already knew a great deal about the essence of the show from the attendee profile to the potential of the PA Farm Show Complex facility. However, according to producers, they have been proactive in getting feedback from show attendees on what they’re looking for in terms of exhibitors, events and celebrities. The producers initially have made strides to improve the overall attendee and exhibitor experience by addressing traffic and parking issues, improving the quality of vendors and the flow of attendees throughout the show. The NRA also added over 220 new interactive events and demonstrations and seminars to the schedule. They also now have a better understanding of how to optimize traffic control in the area to alleviate congestion and move people to available parking areas, according to NRA spokesman Jeremy Greene. New directional signage, the creation of the upper corridor “expressway” and large detailed “You Are Here” signs and color matching the halls to the published floorplans and maps have all contributed to easier navigation of the complex for attendees.

Regarding the areas for improvement, the primary factor in determining future enhancements will result from constantly extracting and evaluating feedback from attendees and exhibitors, according to producers. Producers say they are committed to fulfilling their original vision of evolving the show from its current appeal as a major east coast attraction within the Mid-Atlantic Region to an annual show with the scope and appeal to draw people from across the nation. Greene says their commitment to keeping the show fresh with new entertainment, celebrities, seminars, interactive events and other attractions each year will remain a priority in future plans.

Q: Do Tourism Officials & Community Stakeholders consider this year’s show a success?

A: Everyone involved in the show believes this year was a great success, according the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. The new producer continues to follow through on their original vision; the show continues to evolve and improve fundamentally; and the businesses in the region continue to reap an enormous benefit from this annual show in February.

Q: How is attendance calculated by tourism officials for the Great American Outdoor Show?

A: For events at the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center that do not report attendance publicly the HHRVB has often relied on parking numbers provided by venue management to calculate estimated attendance. For the GAOS, which requires extensive auxiliary parking beyond official venue areas, tourism officials approximated attendance by taking into account several factors including parking reports at the venue and auxiliary parking shuttle figures.

Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Rick's Twitter 
Cell: 717.884.3328

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