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Visitors bureau calls for moratorium on some hotel construction

The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau is calling
for a three-year moratorium on the construction of hotels that don’t have
in-house food and beverage services in Dauphin County.

The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau is calling
for a three-year moratorium on the construction of hotels that don’t have
in-house food and beverage services in Dauphin County.

The move would allow the region’s existing hotels, and those
in the planning and construction phases, to absorb rooms added in the Harrisburg and Hershey
areas throughout the past few years, said Randy King, chairman of the bureau.

Between 700 to 900 rooms are expected to be added in the
area within the next year and a half. If that happens, 1,600 rooms will have
been added to the market since 2005, he said. There are now 7,575 rooms in
Dauphin and Perry counties. The moratorium call does not include Perry County,
King said.

Occupancy rates in Dauphin County
were down 10.5 percent last year compared to 2007. Revenues per room were down
8.2 percent and combined room revenues were down 5.4 percent last year in the
county, King said. The average daily rate increased 2.8 percent in the county
last year, which is about half of what the county normally experiences, he
said.

“Can’t someone please put a facility with meeting space in
this community, instead of adding more and more to the Eisenhower Boulevard
area,?” King said.

The moratorium would help protect the area’s full-service
properties that employ hundreds and have a greater economic affect on the
tourism industry and the region as a whole, King said.

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