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Pocono locales make the grade

Conditions are looking great for the Pocono Mountains during ski season, especially if you happen to rent your home out to tourists.

Airbnb recently announced that Pennsylvania’s ski areas are expected to see 111,400 visitors during the 2019 season, and hosts are set to rake in about $12.7 million in supplemental income.

The Pocono region made its mark as the place to be in the 2019 ski season, with Airbnb placing East Stroudsburg, Emerald Lakes and Tannersville in their top five destination cities list for the state. According to Airbnb, the Poconos have seen a 179 percent increase in guest arrivals.

In addition, two Pocono area listings were highlighted in a roundup of the most popular rentals, the Midcentury Cottage in Long Pond and the Norwegian Cottage in Barrett Township.

While the weather may be a bit wonky lately, Chris Barrett, President and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, said that when circumstances are right, the slopes have been packed.

“There are certain days of the week, when the weather is optimal, that the ski areas are doing very, very well, but the weather itself has been a challenge,” he said. “But there are still a few weeks left in the season, and we were just at Blue Mountain today, where they said when the weather is optimal, they’re doing incredibly well.”

Liz DeBold Fusco, Northeast Press Secretary for Airbnb, said that while skiing may bring people into the region, other local businesses make the Poconos a beloved hotspot for travelers.

“The Poconos are certainly well known for its nearby skiing - whether at Camelback, Blue Mountain or the many other local, beautiful mountains - but it is also known for its community,” DeBold Fusco said. “From the many local events to the unique restaurants and shops that you can find on any Main Street, the Poconos offer something that our guests look for when they travel - the ability to immerse themselves.”

The rental company is counting on big numbers for President’s Day Weekend, when plenty of visitors will hit the slopes. Josh Meltzer, Head of Northeast Policy for Airbnb, also noted that home sharing plays a vital part in bringing tourism dollars ski regions like the Poconos.

“By offering more affordable accommodation options, Airbnb is not only helping more families spend a weekend away on the slopes, but also generating extra income for homeowners throughout the state,” Meltzer said.

Barrett said that the Pocono region is ideal for skiers looking to enjoy the mountains and everything around them thanks to the incredible accommodations.

“Because of the inventory quality we have with homes here in the Pocono Mountains, it seems like a perfect vehicle for them to use to rent out space in a home,” he said. “As a tool for a traveler, it’s a very good tool.”

Barrett added that while increased tourism and foot traffic for local businesses is great, the Visitors Bureau asks that guests please respect the local communities by being as clean and considerate as possible while they are visiting.

With Airbnb reporting that about 2,300 Pennsylvania hosts will rent out their homes this season, taking in about $2,700 on average, the rental economy in the Poconos is clearly growing and changing. It’s a trend that the company hopes will continue, and by all accounts, conditions are looking great.

“As Airbnb grows in popularity, we are ensuring more travelers can discover all that the Poconos has to offer, putting a little money in the pockets of local hosts and contributing to this region’s overall economic engine,” DeBold Fusco said.

By Brian Myszkowski, Pocono Record Writer

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