Happiness Abounds in New PA Happy Traveler Guide
Author: Heidi Havens
State College, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carrie Fischer Lepore unveiled the latest edition of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office’s annual Happy Traveler guide to an audience of key hospitality and tourism industry leaders at the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA) Conference in State College.
“Pennsylvania has so much to offer visitors of all ages – from adventurer and foodie, to history buff and family fun expert – with unparalleled opportunities to explore, discover and immerse themselves in happiness,” said Deputy Secretary Lepore. “The Happy Traveler guide epitomizes our spirit and mission – and serves as a springboard for travelers to pursue their happiness in seeking and exploring all that the beautiful Keystone State has to offer.”
The feature story for the 2017 guide celebrates the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth and encourages travelers to visit one of his iconic properties in Pennsylvania — Fallingwater, Duncan House, and Kentuck Knob. Additionally, the guide features 11 new “Happy Day Road Trips” – one in each of the state’s distinct tourism regions, providing visitors a one-stop-shop for even more of Pennsylvania’s best unique stops and only-in-PA attractions as they plan their getaways.
Along with announcing the release of the 2017 Happy Traveler, Lepore noted some of the Tourism Office’s accomplishments and initiatives in marketing the state over the past year. Since the brand launch in March 2016, there has been a steady increase in online traffic to www.visitPA.com, with 5.1 million annual visitors and with the success of refreshed, lifestyle-focused content shared across the Tourism’s Office social media channels, accounts grew by a significant 34,000 followers in 2016.
The Tourism Office also launched several new initiatives including PA Happy Chats, live question-and-answer sessions hosted by industry experts on the Visit PA Facebook page and Instagram #PAHappyHost Takeovers that featured live “takeovers” of the visit_PA Instagram channel by representatives from top attractions who provided authentic video, snapshots, and commentary for both their followers and those of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.
The momentum for 2016 has set the industry up for even more success in 2017. With new initiatives including a fresh new look for visitPA.com and a “Happy Thoughts” microsite and blog.
With more than 192 million domestic travelers visiting Pennsylvania each year, injecting more than $40 billion annually, the role of Pennsylvania’s travel and tourism industry in the state’s economy is far-reaching.
The industry is also a significant employer with more than 482,524 Pennsylvania jobs that are support by the travel and tourism industry. The industry generates $4 billion in state and local tax revenue and adds $16.9 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.
Lepore also emphasized the importance of Governor Tom Wolf’s proposal to increase funding to support the Pennsylvania Tourism Office in the 2017-18 budget.
“We’re inspired by Governor Wolf’s commitment to marketing Pennsylvania. The funding increase is a crucial first step in leveling the playing field in tourism marketing with competitive states,” said Lepore. “A robust tourism marketing budget isn’t an expense; it’s an investment in Pennsylvania, which in turn provides funding for transportation infrastructure, education, public safety, and other vitally important state programs.”
The Happy Traveler is available digitally and free printed copies can be requested at visitPA.com. Travelers are encouraged to explore Happy Traveler content across Visit PA’s social media platforms and share photos of their favorite Pennsylvania adventures using the hashtag #PAHappySnaps.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to Pennsylvania. For more information, go to visitPA.com or sign up for our Happy Thoughts newsletter, become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, check out photos at instagram.com/visit_pa, share pins at pinterest.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/visitPA.
Heidi Havens, 717-783-1132