Bucks County vacations are rebounding, but finding workers at tourist hot spots proves difficult

The pandemic and ongoing COVID-related restrictions from the state and federal government are having unintended effects on the Bucks County tourism and hospitality industry by turning the usual job openings-to applicant ratio on its head.

It’s not that there aren’t enough jobs to go around. This season, as the industry gears up for a busy time and rebounds from the depths of the pandemic, there aren’t enough applicants to fill the hundreds of positions available.

Consider Sesame Place in Middletown, one of the region’s premier family summer attractions, and its recent job fair.

“Overall, we are looking to fill 800 open positions,” said Dana Ryan, the public relations manager for Sesame Place. “Although there were not as many attendees at this job fair as we would typically see in a non-COVID year, it was extremely successful. We made more offers in one day than we have in most weeks.”

Rodney Anderson interviews Ryann Harris of Trenton, NJ for an opening during a job fair  at Sesame Place in Langhorne. Sesame Place, like most entertainment facilities around the country, are looking to hire workers, but having a hard time acquiring those employees.
Potential employees enter the park looking for employment  during a job fair at Sesame Place in Langhorne.

Tourism industry overcomes obstacles

Last year and again earlier this spring, Visit Bucks County embarked on an ambitious targeted advertising campaign intended to highlight the many advantages to vacationing in the county, including highlights of outdoor activities. The tourism organization used funds from the CARES Act to fund the campaign, as well as other initiatives to support businesses. It received $3.7 million. 

Even the earliest ads, which including commercials and billboards in New York, Washington and Harrisburg area, were designed to promote safe travel through the pandemic and plant the seeds for future visits, officials said.

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