Governor Wolf’s $10 Million Tourism Budget Proposal Would Have Immediate Positive Impact on PA Economy

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carrie Fischer Lepore yesterday testified before the Senate Committee on Community, Economic, and Recreational Development about tourism funding and the immediate positive impact Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal would have on Pennsylvania’s economy.

The governor has proposed $10 million for the Marketing to Attract Tourists line item, representing a $6.1 million increase, with the goal of boosting state revenues, investing in small family-owned businesses, and creating jobs that pay in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“Tourism marketing is not like most other investments,” said Deputy Secretary Fischer Lepore. “A shot in the arm for tourism marketing actually generates more tax dollars than it costs, and the return is immediate. No other state program, investment or priority offers such a significant, instantaneous impact on Pennsylvania’s economy and the state’s coffers.”

Cuts to the tourism marketing budget between 2009 to 2014 have caused Pennsylvania to lose more than 37 million visitors, $7.7 billion in visitor spending, $3.2 billion in labor income and almost $450 million in state taxes, according to the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association’s (PRLA) 2015 economic impact study.

In stark contrast, New York state dramatically increased its funding for tourism marketing – from $15 million to more than $37 million – and saw a 46-percent gain in market share among its nine competitor states. Pennsylvania is outspent by, and losing visitors to, competitor states. Despite having unparalleled assets from history, culture, and the greater-than-great outdoors, Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget is substantially underfunded compared to its competitors – outspent 5:1 by New York, 3:1 by Virginia and 2.5:1 by Washington, D.C.

The PRLA study also confirmed every $1 invested in tourism marketing generates $3.43 in tax revenue, which can be used for to pay for public safety, education and other essential programs. The tourism industry also supports more than 310,000 jobs directly, and close to 500,000 jobs in total.

“This is a smart investment in a vital industry that generates revenue for transportation infrastructure, education and public safety programs,” said Fischer Lepore. “Pennsylvania is in a revenue crisis – and a $10 million investment is a giant step in the right direction – to renew Pennsylvania community spirit by giving people a reason to be proud of where they call home, and in turn, we can immediately help to resolve Pennsylvania’s revenue shortfall.”

David Smith, DCED, 717-783-1132

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