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Pennsylvania to undertake comprehensive tourism marketing study

Jul 29, 2015 12:10PM ● Published 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.”

About Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association

Founded in 1937, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association promotes, protects, educates and improves the hospitality industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PRLA represents more than 2,500 members and their more than 7,500 locations. It 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. 

About Pennsylvania Association of Travel & Tourism

The Pennsylvania Association of Travel & Tourism strives to unify and lead Pennsylvania’s travel and tourism industry, presenting one voice on public policy while serving the needs of its diverse investors.

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