Pennsylvania Tourism Budget Advocacy 2017-18 Partner/Stakeholder Toolkit

In his Feb. 7, 2017, budget address, Gov. Tom Wolf asked the Pennsylvania House and Senate for $10 million to support the promotion of tourism in Pennsylvania – a significant increase over previous spending levels. 

This is welcome news, as we know how the impact tourism has on Pennsylvania’s economy. As noted in the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association’s (PRLA’s) 2015 tourism study, when tourism budgets were cut in Pennsylvania from 2009 to 2014, we saw a dramatic loss in state tax revenue – to the tune of $449 million. And while budget cuts aimed to save the commonwealth $125 million, the resulting net loss was $324 million in taxes.

The PRLA study also confirms that tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries, generating $39.2 billion annually in visitor spending – so, an investment in tourism marketing means more spending by travelers. In fact, for every dollar invested in tourism, Pennsylvania gains $3.43 in tax revenue – which leads to increased dollars for infrastructure, transportation, public safety, education and more. As we know all too well, tourism is not an expense. It’s an investment in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is significantly outspent by other states when it comes to tourism, now ranking last compared to states relative to industry size, and 39th in the U.S. overall. And this has set off a domino effect of loss, as we’re now losing market share to neighboring states as tourists become more attracted to our competitors. 

We need to further educate the Pennsylvania State Legislature, influencers and taxpayers on the economic impact of the Pennsylvania tourism industry in an effort to turn the Governor’s proposed funding increase into reality, and we have a relatively small window of opportunity to do it.

Tourism Budget Advocacy Toolkit – Resources for YOU

In this toolkit, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office has prepared the following resources to equip you – our tourism stakeholders and advocates – to spread the word and support Governor Wolf’s proposed marketing budget increase.

Outreach Content – To inspire your own outreach efforts, we have provided sample content, which you may modify to suit the needs of your membership and/or community.

Key Messages

The following key messages align with PRLA’s messaging, and in turn the Pennsylvania Tourism Office’s messaging. It supports data included in the PRLA tourism study, adding proof points to make the strongest case possible.

  1. Despite having one of the largest tourism economies, PA’s tourism marketing budget is substantially underfunded vs. our competitors, outspent 5:1 by New York, 3:1 by Virginia and 2.5:1 by Washington D.C.
    • After earmarks, the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget is approximately $3.9 million, positioning PA at the bottom of state tourism marketing budgets.
    • A 2016 study by Destination Analysts, a leading tourism research and marketing company, examined the relationship between destination appeal, perceived traveler familiarity and likelihood of visitation and found that:
      • “The more appealing a destination is, the more likely travelers are to say they are likely to visit.” 
      • “Higher levels of familiarity foster both appeal and likelihood to visit.”
      • Using the example of Dallas, the nation’s fourth-largest city, based on its size and as one of the nation’s most unique and vibrant communities, one would expect the city to be ranked near the top on travelers’ wish list of places to visit, but it is not. 
      • The authors noted, Dallas is one of the places travelers are far less likely to visit and, “like many destinations, suffers from a significant awareness and understanding deficit both domestically and abroad,” facing “stiff competition from many compelling and well-funded destinations around the country.” 
      • The authors concluded the results for Dallas and several other destinations “dramatically highlight the need for continued support (and very importantly fund) the marketing efforts of area destination marketing organizations.”
  1. A 2015 PRLA study revealed the size of the impact from cuts to the state tourism marketing budget between 2009 and 2014. The study showed that the cuts caused PA to lose more than 37 million visitors, $7.7 billion in visitor spending, $3.2 billion in labor income and almost $450 million in state taxes; every dollar “saved” on marketing has cost the state $3.60 in state tax revenue.
    • 17-percent drop in market share for overnight travelers and 16-percent drop for day-trip travelers among Pennsylvania’s nine major competitor states that, in contrast, have gained market share.
    • 24-percent decline in Pennsylvania’s market share of overseas visitors to the U.S. While the number of overseas visitors grew 45 percent between 2009 and 2014, Pennsylvania saw just a 10-percent increase in the number of overseas visitors.
    • Translated into actual numbers, the decline in market share means that the commonwealth welcomed an estimated 206,000 fewer overseas visitors and 37 million fewer U.S. visitors than it would have if the state marketing budget had been maintained.
    • In stark contrast, New York State dramatically increased its funding for tourism marketing – from $15 million to over $37 million – and saw a 46-percent gain in market share among the nine competitor states.
  1. A robust tourism marketing budget is not an expense; it’s an investment in a vital industry that generates revenue to the General Fund and funds transportation infrastructure, education and public safety programs.
    • The PA Tourism Office spent the past year launching a new brand campaign, and continues to rebuild all of the assets needed to support the state’s tourism marketing efforts.
    • For every dollar invested in tourism, Pennsylvania gains $3.43 in tax revenue – revenue that supports education, public safety and a host of other state programs.
    • Nearly 200 million domestic and international visitors in total travel to and/or within Pennsylvania annually who inject an estimated $40 billion into the state’s economy.
    • Pennsylvania’s tourism industry directly supports more than 310,000 jobs and close to 500,000 jobs in total.
    • Every traveler makes a difference, benefitting the communities in which we live and work.

Social Media Content

To drive the conversation on social media, we are sharing a number of sample messages for use on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, incorporating the branded hashtag #PANeedsTourism. We are also including relevant Twitter handles for the PA Tourism Office and DCED.

Branded Hashtag

Use #PANeedsTourism to join the conversation and spread the word that Pennsylvania needs an increased tourism marketing budget.

Useful Twitter Handles

@VisitPA  Pennsylvania Tourism Office (consumer facing) 
@PAtourismPR  Pennsylvania Tourism Office (media facing) 
@PADCEDnews  PA DCED
@GovernorTomWolf   Gov. Tom Wolf 

We also recommend searching for your local state representatives’ Twitter handles. Identify your representative by searching online. Search for his/her handle within the Twitter platform.

Sample Messages for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn 

Twitter (as standalone posts, or targeting legislators listed above)

  • Tourism is a $40B industry in PA and funds essential services. Support @GovernorTomWolf's proposed tourism budget increase. #PANeedsTourism
  • Since 2010 tourism budget cuts, every $ “saved” cost PA $3.60 in state taxes. Support @GovernorTomWolf's proposed increase. #PANeedsTourism
  • PA tourism is one of our most impactful industries — but grossly underfunded. Support @GovernorTomWolf's proposed increase. #PANeedsTourism

Facebook 

  • Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s largest tourism economies, injecting approximately $40 billion into our economy each year and funding transportation infrastructure, education and public safety programs. But PA’s marketing budget is substantially underfunded. Contact your local legislator and ask them to support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed increase to $10 million in the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget. #PANeedsTourism
  • Over the past six years, cuts to Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget have caused us to lose more than 37 million visitors, $7.7 billion in visitor spending, $3.2 billion in labor income and almost $450 million in state taxes. Every dollar “saved” on marketing has cost the state $3.60 in state tax revenue. Contact your local legislator and ask them to support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed increase to $10 million in the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget. #PANeedsTourism
  • Pennsylvania’s tourism industry supports close to 500,000 jobs, and every dollar invested in tourism gains $3.43 in tax revenue. But PA’s marketing budget is substantially underfunded. Contact your local legislator and ask them to support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed increase to $10 million in the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget. #PANeedsTourism

LinkedIn

  • Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s largest tourism economies, injecting approximately $40 billion into our economy each year and funding transportation infrastructure, education and public safety programs. But PA’s marketing budget is substantially underfunded. Contact your local legislator and ask them to support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed increase to $10 million in the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget. PA needs tourism!
  • Over the past six years, cuts to Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget have caused us to lose more than 37 million visitors, $7.7 billion in visitor spending, $3.2 billion in labor income and almost $450 million in state taxes. Every dollar “saved” on marketing has cost the state $3.60 in state tax revenue. Contact your local legislator and ask them to support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed increase to $10 million in the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget. PA needs tourism!
  • Pennsylvania’s tourism industry supports close to 500,000 jobs, and every dollar invested in tourism gains $3.43 in tax revenue. But PA’s marketing budget is substantially underfunded. Contact your local legislator and ask them to support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed increase to $10 million in the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget. PA needs tourism!

Newsletter/E-Blast Content

To spread the word among your members/employees, you may wish to include the content below in your next newsletter or e-blast. We recommend sending in May. 

Title: Why PA needs tourism funding – and how we can help

 
Dear valued partners/employees,

The potential of tourism in Pennsylvania is huge. I write to you today with a sense of hope and a passionate plea to work together over these next few months.

As we know, tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries, and its impact on both a statewide and local level are massive. An investment in tourism marketing means much more than spending by travelers. As the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association detailed in its 2015 tourism study, for every dollar invested in tourism, Pennsylvania gains $3.43 in tax revenue. And this revenue leads to increased dollars for everything from infrastructure and transportation to public safety and education. 

In his proposed budget, Governor Tom Wolf asked the House and Senate for $10 million to support the promotion of tourism in Pennsylvania – a significant increase from current and recent spending levels, but a far cry from what our neighbors in New York ($50m) and Virginia ($20m) spend annually. We can all play a role in communicating the value of investing in tourism marketing, and to prove that tourism spending is not an expense – it is an investment in Pennsylvania. 

In March, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office celebrated the one-year anniversary of its successful brand rollout – Pennsylvania: Pursue your Happiness. While the office accomplished so much over the past year through its branding efforts, which in turn benefits our local industry and economy, increased tourism funding is vital to continue the momentum and restore Pennsylvania tourism – and the economy – to the level it once was. 

So, what can we do? We can reach out to our legislators. To contact [insert legislator name], call, email or send a letter, and advocate for Governor Wolf’s proposed $10 million for the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item of his Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget:

[insert legislator contact info]


We can also spread the word about Pennsylvania tourism’s impact on our social media channels, using the hashtag #PANeedsTourism. And we can keep the pressure on until the legislature passes a budget.

Together, we can help restore Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget and boost our local and state economy.

Sincerely,

[Name]

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Download the Toolkit Word Document
(Microsoft Word Document)