HARRISBURG – To keep visitors coming to Pennsylvania by the millions, Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced the commonwealth has invested $8 million to help local and regional organizations market tourism attractions and promote the unique experiences available in the State of Independence.
“Even in a challenging economy, Pennsylvania recognizes the need to invest in our tourism industry because it generates more than $28 billion in economic impact – an amount greater than the recently enacted state budget,” Rendell said.
Pennsylvania is the fifth-most visited state, attracting more than 140 million visitors a year. More than 600,000 Pennsylvanians work in the tourism industry, drawing paychecks totaling $18 billion.
“We are committed to working with our partners to maximize Pennsylvania’s promotion efforts, despite the economic downturn,” said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism. “While most industries are working with limited resources, including tourism, we embrace this challenge and are moving forward with innovative ways to promote Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania invested $15.6 million in tourism promotion agencies this past year.
Under Act 50 of 2008, recognized tourism promotion agencies are awarded funding based on a formula that weighs the agency’s eligible expenses, hotel room revenues, and an evaluation of the proposed use for the funding.
The law also provides funding for regional marketing partnership organizations in two categories: place- and experience-based. Place-based organizations work to promote a specific region of the state while experience-based organizations promote a unique experience or activity.
“We are going to collaborate more with our partners; increase Pennsylvania’s presence in the social media universe; and go after cooperative advertising opportunities to bring more visitors to the commonwealth,” said Rose Mape, executive director of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.
Funding is to be used to create or expand new and innovative programs that complement the state’s tourism promotion efforts, which may include advertising campaigns, public relations strategies, online marketing efforts, and Web site development.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to the State of Independence.
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Editor’s Note: Listed below are the regional marketing partnership and tourism promotion agency grants that have been awarded for fiscal year 2009-10:
Regional Marketing Partnership place-based grants: $2,854,925:
• Pennsylvania Wilds, $90,000, a 12-county region that includes Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga and Warren counties.
• The Alleghenies, $200,000, an eight-county region that includes Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties.
• Laurel Highlands, $69,925, a three-county region that includes Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties.
• Dutch Country Roads, $425,000, a nine-county region that includes Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties.
• Philadelphia and the Countryside, $900,000, a five-county region that includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
• Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region, $150,000, a four-county region that includes Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties.
• Pittsburgh and its Countryside, $610,000, an eight-county region that includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence and Washington counties.
• Upstate PA, $290,000, a 11-county region that includes Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
• Valleys of the Susquehanna, $60,000, a five-county region that includes Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties.
• Lehigh Valley, $60,000, a two-county region encompassing Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Regional Marketing Partnership experience-based grants: $585,075:
• Pennsylvania Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, $100,000, to promote group and motorcoach tours.
• Pennsylvania Golf Course Owners Association, $75,000, for further promotion of playing golf in Pennsylvania.
• Ready, Set, Go, PA Sports, administered by the Pennsylvania Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, $175,000, for the sales and promotion of attracting sporting events to Pennsylvania.
• Pennsylvania Winery Association, $75,000, for promotion of Pennsylvania’s wine trails.
• Pennsylvania Quest for Freedom, administered by the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau, $100,000, for operation of the program.
• Pennsylvania Artisan Trails, administered by the Perry County Council of the Arts, $60,075, for operation of the program.
Tourism Promotion Assistance grants: $4,560,000:
Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau – $66,878
Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau – $13,630
Armstrong County Tourist Bureau – $8,794
Beaver County Recreation and Tourism Department – $15,453
Bedford County Conference and Visitors Bureau -$23,825
Brandywine Conference and Visitors Bureau – $67,884
Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau – $148,294
Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau – $48,136
Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau – $94,096
Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau – $106,633
Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority – $18,929
Clinton County Economic Partnership -$11,861
Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau – $41,951
Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau – $12,004
Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau – $46,521
Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau – $25,422
Franklin County Visitors Bureau – $38,170
Fulton County Chamber of Commerce – $702
Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau – $59,498
Greater Johnstown/Cambria County CVB – $28,322
Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau – $61,362
Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency -$5,586
Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau – $192,797
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau – $17,509
Indiana County Tourist Bureau – $14,485
Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau (did not apply)
Lackawanna County Convention and Visitors Bureau – $60,405
Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau – $117,262
Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency – $6,673
Lebanon Valley Exposition Corporation (did not apply)
Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc. – $160,113
Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau – $40,897
Lycoming County Visitors Bureau – $25,131
Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau – $35,128
Northwest Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoors – $43,990
Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism – $9,538
Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau – $270,628
Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau – $1,106,590
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau – $378,146
Potter County Visitors Association – $4,925
Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau – $14,273
Susquehanna River Valley – $46,425
Tioga County Visitors Bureau – $11,230
Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau – $267,542
VisitErie – $53,775
VisitPittsburgh – $580,632
Warren County Visitors Bureau – $7,276
Washington Tourism Promotion Agency – $46,718
York County Convention and Visitors Bureau – $103,963