Pennsylvania will receive a $17 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to boost the travel and tourism in the state.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the commonwealth to make transformative investments that will have a lasting impact on travel and tourism industry now and for decades to come,” Gov. Wolf said. “We know through research that inviting those to travel to and around Pennsylvania through tourism marketing and advertising in the short term will be the shot in the arm this industry so desperately needs.”
After consulting with tourism partners across the state and colleagues around the nation, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office at the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will invest the $17,086,197 in the following ways:
- $10 million to dramatically increase the PA Tourism Cooperative Marketing Advertising Program in 2022 and 2023 to create advertising opportunities for destination marketing organizations and industry associations by matching or possibly doubling their investment.
- To attract new visitors and residents to Pennsylvania the office will invest $6.8 million in new initiatives that will promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in marketing, messaging, and product development to capture greater market share and, most importantly, in our approach to how we welcome travelers to the commonwealth leaving a positive impact on the industry for decades to come; and
- To protect our outdoor recreation assets that have historically experienced overcrowding, $250,000 will support the Outdoor Recreation Concierge Program via the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to train front-line workers and volunteers aimed at promoting the outdoor experiences of a region, with an emphasis on underutilized, hidden natural gems.
“While the advertising investment will produce results in real time boosting our tourism economy, creating jobs, and generating millions of additional tax dollars, we intend for our DEI efforts to be transformative for generations to come,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, deputy secretary, Office of Marketing, Tourism, and Film at DCED. “Drawing new visitors to Pennsylvania and ensuring they feel welcome and that they belong will not just grow the tourism economy but influence people’s perception of Pennsylvania as a destination to visit, a place to grow a business, a community to call home, and a state to feel proud of.”
Lepore outlined the DEI investment:
- $1 million – To create a groundbreaking industry training program for frontline workers and tourism industry leadership that ensures every traveler, regardless of race, gender, age, ability, and background, feels welcome, respected, and included when visiting Pennsylvania;
- $500,000 – To develop a new statewide tourism product to provide more diverse and inclusive experiences to travelers;
- $1.5 million – For tourism partner product development grants;
- $ 3.8 million – To develop new marketing campaigns to reach a more diverse and inclusive travel consumer. This would be done through contracting with agencies owned or led by those from various diverse communities.