FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Industry, government leaders push to increase tourism marketing budget for Pennsylvania
New study reveals Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing is substantially underfunded

Harrisburg, Pa. (March 15, 2016)— Tourism industry and government leaders today discussed the findings of an independent analysis of Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget. 

The analysis, conducted by Tourism Economics and commissioned by the Pennsylvania Tourism Coalition, revealed that Pennsylvania ranks last in the country for state tourism funding relative to industry size, 36th by dollar amount and 44th per industry job.

Prior to 2010, Pennsylvania’s funding was among the top 10 in the country, competitive with Florida and Michigan, and highest among regional competitors. 

The Tourism Economics study recommends increasing Pennsylvania’s tourism line-item in the budget to $35 million for the next four years. 

“The hospitality and tourism industries for years have argued that investing in tourism creates jobs and tax revenue,” said John Longstreet, president & CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and coalition leader. “The TE study confirms our position, and goes a step further by plugging in the numbers.”

Every dollar invested in tourism promotion would yield $3.43 in tax revenue for the Commonwealth. Restoring the budget to $35 million would yield $275 million net in state taxes over four years. 

“The independent study conducted by a coalition of tourism industry stakeholders affirms and quantifies the significant impact the Pennsylvania travel and tourism industry has on Pennsylvanians in terms of job creation and the Pennsylvania economy overall,” said Sen. Kim Ward, chairwoman of the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee.

“Given that Pennsylvania tourism supports over 319,000 direct jobs and around $4.1 billion in state and local taxes for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its municipalities, we must ensure that we adequately invest in the marketing and promotion of this vital Commonwealth asset to ensure its continued viability and future growth,” she continued.

"We have one of the largest tourism economies in the United States, but are ranked below 35 other states in our support of tourism. We are losing jobs, tax revenue, and opportunities to attract new visitors to Pennsylvania to other states like New York and Michigan,” said Sen. Larry Farnese, minority chairman of the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee. “What this study shows us is how essential the tourism market is to the fiscal health of the Commonwealth and how increased state investment will only bolster tourism’s benefits to our citizens, small businesses, and Pennsylvania as a whole."

“What is clear from this independent study is that tourism should not be considered an expense but rather an investment in Pennsylvania’s future,” said Rep. Dave Hickernell, chairman of the House Tourism & Recreational Development Committee. 

The Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and the House Tourism & Recreational Development Committee will be holding a joint hearing tomorrow, March 16, at 9 a.m. to delve deeper into the details of the Tourism Economics study.  

“DCED’s renewed focus on tourism promotion, commencing with last week’s unveiling of the new slogan and logo inviting visitors to ‘Pursue Your Happiness’ by the Tourism Office, will help re-build Pennsylvania’s reputation as an unrivaled destination for today’s active travelers and explorers,” said Dennis Davin, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. 

About Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
For nearly 80 years, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association has promoted, protected, educated and strived to improve the hospitality industry in Pennsylvania. PRLA conveys the unified voice of the hospitality industry to the Commonwealth’s citizenry and elected officials. Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry plays an integral role in the state’s economy, employing more than 960,000 people and generating revenues of more than $42 billion annually. To download the complete Tourism Economics study, visit www.prla.org/patourismstudy.

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Media contacts:
Stephanie Otterson
Director of Communications
Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
(717) 963-8369
sotterson@prla.org

Jason Brehouse
Executive Director  

Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee
(717) 787-6063
jbrehouse@pasen.gov