Pennsylvania to undertake comprehensive tourism marketing study
Jul 29, 2015 12:10PM
By Erica Shames
The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and Pennsylvania Association of Travel & Tourism today announced Tourism Economics, in association with Longwoods International, will conduct one of the most comprehensive tourism marketing studies since the state of Colorado’s in 1993.
“We believe this Pennsylvania study will show a clear connection between increased marketing funds and increased visitor spending, with a high return on investment” said John Longstreet, PRLA president & CEO. “In 1993, Colorado cut its tourism promotion budget to zero, ultimately losing more than $2 billion annually in tourism revenue.”
“We are concerned that Pennsylvania is heading down the same path,” added Rob Fulton, PATT president & CEO. “Funding for tourism marketing in Pennsylvania has plunged from $30 million in 2010 to a proposed $4.3 million in 2015/16, and we have seen a steady decline in our share of all marketable leisure trips.”
Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget currently sits at 41st among the states despite tourism’s role in Pennsylvania’s economy. In 2013, tourism generated nearly $40 billion in visitor spending, produced more than $4 billion in state and local taxes, and sustained 479,000 jobs.
By marketing Pennsylvania as the prime tourism destination that it is, there will be a resulting increase in visitors. This will lead to increased business activity, tax generation and employment opportunities.
PRLA and PATT spearheaded the bid process on behalf of several other state tourism-related associations, as well as the state’s 49 destination marketing organizations, which are tasked with promoting the unique assets of their local areas. The RFP process yielded four proposals from which Tourism Economics was selected to analyze the economic impact of tourism marketing funding on the state’s overall general fund.
“Dedicating funds to tourism marketing from the hotel tax dollars we already collect will actually increase general fund revenue due to increased spending by out-of-state visitors,” said Longstreet. “Sometimes you need to spend money to make money.”