Pennsylvania state backs tourism promotion

Governor Edward G. Rendell has awarded $11 million in matching funds for the state’s 47
Tourism-Promotion Agencies (TPAs) to help them attract more travelers to
the commonwealth and support one of the state’s top industries.“Tourism creates jobs, enriches communities and helps Pennsylvania grow
its economy,” Governor Rendell said. “Through aggressive tourism
development, every region of Pennsylvania is more equipped than ever to
provide visitors with the best possible experience.”
  The base grants will be used by local TPAs to develop promotional
materials, advertisements and other marketing activities.
  In order to promote regional tourism, this program provides up to $2 in
state funding for every $1 raised locally by single-county TPAs and up to
$2.25 for TPAs crossing county lines. As part of Governor Rendell’s support
of regional cooperation, $550,000 of the $11 million in grants is earmarked
for cooperative marketing projects in which at least two TPAs work
together. Pennsylvania’s matching funds grant program is the oldest and one
of the largest in the nation.
  “By every measure of success, Pennsylvania tourism is stronger than
ever,” said Governor Rendell. “Hotel bookings are up, and so are the number
of visits by day trippers. More than half a million jobs come from travel
and tourism, and the industry is growing faster than many other segments of
the economy.”
  In 2005, Pennsylvania’s leisure and hospitality segment generated
nearly 10,000 new jobs and grew by nearly 2 percent. The growth rate
outpaced many other sectors of the state’s economy. Pennsylvania’s leisure
and hospitality industry accounts for about 8 percent of the total number
of non-farm jobs, but generated 15 percent of all new jobs in 2005.
  According to data provided to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office by Smith
Travel Research, more than 26 million rooms were sold during 2005, or 5.1
percent more than were sold in 2000, a widely recognized benchmark year in
the travel and tourism industry, representing a 61.4 percent hotel
occupancy rate for 2005.
  Pennsylvania is the fourth most visited state in the country, tied with
New York, with approximately 138 million visitors annually. Travelers to
Pennsylvania spent more than $25 billion in 2005, including $17.75 billion
by leisure visitors on transportation, food, rooms, shopping, entertainment
and other items, representing a 10 percent increase from 2002.