Poconos Coal

Poconos sees uptick in tourism after previous decline

Back in the day, the Poconos area was a tourism destination.

"The Poconos had been really, really well known as a honeymoon destination after the Second World War into the 80s," said Chris Barrett from the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. 

Then, according to Barrett, things changed when airfare got cheaper.

"That resulted in people flying out much more for honeymoons," he explained. 

Combined with other factors, that ushered in a down period when many classic resorts went by the wayside.

Today, Barrett told WFMZ, the region is again seeing growth, specifically in the last two years. 

"Our occupancy is up, our revenue per available room is up, a lot of the basic metrics that we look at as an industry are up in double digits," he said. 

The main reason, he said, is the rise of indoor water parks. 

"Starting with Great Wolf, with Camelback's addition, and then with Kalahari," he said. 

In spite of all of this change, some of the old school Poconos institutions still do thrive.

Skytop Lodge, for example, which recently received a rare four-diamond rating from AAA.  

"We are thrilled," said Skytop General Manager Jeff Rudder.

He was told about the ranking a few months ago, but he wasn't told when the review was being conducted.

"It's unannounced. So really, the idea is that we need to be that four-diamond quality each and every day," he said. 

Skytop opened in 1928 and is still a throwback. 

"We are a full-service, full resort. 12 months out of the year," he explained. 

They've got skiing, golf, tennis, and even lawn bowling.

What they do not have is a water park; for them, the major focus is nature. 

"Our amusement park is just that. It's the 5,500 acres," he told WFMZ.  

That said, like the convention centers at places like Kalahari, a major part of Skytop's business is people coming to do business at group retreats.

Old school and new school on common ground. 

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