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Tourism in the City of Reading

A New Industry towards a New Reading

By: Frankie Lee Graham Jr.

The City of Reading has many things to offer people from around the world. Reading is a unique
city, with plenty of history. It is full of culture and rich traditions from various groups of people.
The term melting pot comes to mind. There are people from all around the world living in
Reading, and they bring with them a variety of cultures, religions, and languages. All that being
said, the City of Reading, is a place where tourism could help finance and rebuild the city.
However, the City of Reading will not be able to benefit from tourism until tourists feel safe to
visit. It is the responsibility of the Reading Municipal Government to ensure the tourists safety.
The Reading Municipal Government must create a safer environment by placing security cameras
in tourist hotspots and by beefing up police presence with more officers patrolling by bicycle and
by foot.
Benefits of Tourism
Tourism would help bring capital into the City of Reading. The great advantage of the tourism
industry is that its enormously labor intensive. Many local businesses, mostly small, would greatly
benefit from increased tourism. This would allow for every dollar coming into the city of Reading
to have a quick impact on business owners and residents. If the City of Reading became a tourist
destination, there would be an enormous array of benefits. For the average travelers, a booming
tourism industry in Reading offers a lot of things to do, many places to stay, and as a product,
additional tourists would be interested in coming to the city. (Bennett, 2014)
The following are some examples of immediate benefits of having a tourism industry in the City
of Reading:
1. Employment: The easiest and quickest benefit would be the amount of new jobs the tourist
industry would bring to the City of Reading. The type of jobs created and directly affected
by the tourism industry would be tour guides, driving services, hotel services, and
restaurant services. Other than providing wages, businesses in the tourism industry would
be a good place to sell Berks County products such as Clover Farms, Icey Tea, etc.,
boosting the local industries. (Bennett, 2014)

2. Increased Spending in the City of Reading: The money spent by the tourists would go
directly into the City of Readings economy. It would not just effect tourism, but a large
range of basic necessity products such food, clothing, hairdressing, medical care,
transportation, and souvenirs & amusements. If this took place in the city of Reading, the
money earned by individuals, and businesses could be re-injected into the citys economy.
When money from tourists is re-injected into the city, this is known as the multiplier effect.
The multiplier effects is when a large percentage of each tourist dollar received is
reintroduced back into the economy, over and over again. The more tourist dollars coming
into the City of Reading, the greater the economic revenue for everybody. (Bennett, 2014)
3. Infrastructure: If tourism were to improve in the City of Reading, the extra revenue would
be beneficial to the Reading Municipal Government to allow for public development, and
other construction projects. The extra funds could also be used to make improvements on
current structures across the city (repair roads, parks developed and public spaces
improved). The more enhanced amenities there are, the more visitors, which would be an
outstanding benefit to Readings residents, particularly when there is enough money to
improve Readings airport, schools and hospitals, which all support the economic
development even further. (Bennett, 2014)
4. Social Advantages: Tourism in the City of Reading could provide cultural advantages. It
could be a source of pride for the community, and allow others to look at the citys history,
cultural heritage, and cultivate a community identity. This would allow Readings residents
to maintain their traditions and culture, while also showcasing it for all the tourists. This
advantage of tourism has saved many local heritage sites from destruction, in addition to
giving tourists a wonderful insight into the local ways of life. Tourism in the City of
Reading could help preserve the history of the region that may be at risk of being lost with
globalization. (Bennett, 2014)
5. Opportunities: Bringing tourists into the City of Reading would give it new life, and
generate opportunities for capitalists to launch new services and products, or amenities that
would not be maintainable centered on Readings residents alone. Tourists provides all
types of potential customers, and with the correct tactics in a business strategy, successful
business opportunities would be possible. (Bennett, 2014)
Suggestion to Improve Reading Tourism
1. The Reading Municipal Government needs to ensure the safety of tourists, by beefing up
the Police presence around the City of Reading with more bicycle patrols, and foot patrols.
2. The Reading Municipal Government needs to put more public funds, and government
grants to be used on the following tourist sites around Reading:
a. The Historical Society
b. The Reading Museum
c. The Reading Planetarium

d. The Reading Pagoda

3. Make clear/clean blacktop paths along the sides of the Schuylkill River for runners and
bikers, with solar powered lights to ensure safety. Make the Schuylkill River the center
piece to a more active and healthier Reading. This would also ensure the shorelines to be
cleaned up, and the tree-lines trimmed to allow people to see the City of Reading as they
walk, run, or bike along the path. In addition, along the path would be exercise points,
where people can do a different body movement to strengthen the body.
4. Clean out, and dig up the riverbed of the Schuylkill River along the city, and put a minor
dam, to raise the water level slightly, and restock the river with fish. (Make Reading a
fishing destination.)
5. Have Lenni-Lenape tree log canoes to have tourist ride up and down the Schuylkill River.
At the beginning and end points of the canoe ride, have Lenni-Lenape Longhouses built as
the information center/ticket office. Vacant lots along the river can be Lenni-Lenape village
6. Build a Japanese village around the pagoda. Make it a Japanese culture hub that educates
children about culture differences. To also improve the landscape, Japanese rock gardens
around the pagoda would enhance the scenery. Inside the pagoda there will be a floor set
for WWII materials from the Japanese, and Americans, another floor with Japanese
clothing and history.
7. Take a part of Reading with the most vacant lots and vacant homes, and convert it into Asia
Town. Asia town would have many restaurants, arts & craft, and Asian grocery stores.
8. Create as many places for people to park their cars around the City of Reading (Free
Parking or $1.00/hour). Take the vacant lots and make them into parking lots.
9. The Reading Municipal Government must work with Amtrak to bring back the train line
into the City of Reading. This would allow people from all over the region to easily come
to Reading. The difficult part would be getting the support of Montgomery County to allow
the rail line, as well as getting funding for the rail line. In past talks, funding would come
from making route 422 a toll road. This source of funding is not suggested, as it would
cause traffic to move into residential neighborhoods.
10. The Reading Municipal Government must work with BARTA, and Berks county officials
to start using the renovated train station on Franklin Street to create a tourist attraction
called, Ride the Reading Railroad. This would allow tourist to have a short train ride
throughout a small portion of Berks County. Throughout the ride, tourist will be informed
on the history of the Reading Railroad and its impact on Berks County, and the southeastern

region of Pennsylvania. Once tourists have finished experiencing this, they would be able
to say they rode the Reading Railroad from the board game Monopoly.
Source of Funding
Due the current affairs in the City of Reading under Act 47, getting funding from the Reading
Municipal Government will be extremely difficult. In order to get funds for improving tourism in
the city, it would take donations from local citizens and local business, as well as, fundraisers and
federal grants. Once the City of Reading is able to be released from Act 47 in 2019, the Reading
Municipal Government should have additional funds to improve the tourism industry in Reading,

If elected Mayor of Reading, Frankie Lee Graham Jr. would like to donate a portion of his
annual salary to making some of the tourism improvement plan possible.

Bennett, Travis. 2014. 7 Advantages of Tourism in an Economy. (Accessed February 15, 2015)