Tourism’s $43B Impact Drives PA’s Economy and Quality of Life

Harrisburg, PA

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square

Pennsylvania offers a myriad of activities for visitors and residents year-round, but spring decidedly marks the beginning of a more active season when the flowers start to bloom, birds sing, and those of us who patiently waited out the frostier months enthusiastically shake off our cabin fever.

As we approach warmer days with the promise of woodland hikes, outdoor festivals, and sun-drenched days on the water, I want to step back and reflect on just how integral tourism is to Pennsylvania’s economy and the enormous benefit it provides to visitors and residents alike.

Pennsylvania’s Travel Industry generates more than $43.3 billion annually from visitor spending and supporting over half a million jobs. Each year, we host over 204 million travelers from across the United States, nearly 1.3 million visitors from Canada, and 1 million from overseas markets. Almost 10 million travelers visit our national park sites alone each year, and their spending and that of all our visitors contribute significantly to our state’ economy.

The tax revenues generated at both the state and local level from tourism funds vital services including public safety, education, and other essential programs that benefit all Pennsylvanians. Tourism also provides a wide range of employment opportunities across numerous industries and all skill levels – from entry level clerks to chief executives and from industrial to scientific.

While the economic benefits from tourism are substantial and vitally important, no less important are the non-economic benefits. The very attractions and features that draw visitors to Pennsylvania contribute significantly to our residents’ quality of life – one of the two driving forces behind our Pennsylvania mantra: Work Smart. Live Happy. This call-to-action reflects the economic opportunity and optimism we proudly foster as we promote our cultural and regional attractions, diverse communities, and incredible residents who call Pennsylvania home.

Our state offers something for every traveler, whether it’s snow-capped mountains, stunning art museums, quirky roadside attractions, local festivals, or historical landmarks. As travelers explore the commonwealth, they support our economy, improve our quality of life, and contribute to a thriving, innovative state. We take to heart the spirit of the words proclaimed more than two centuries ago in the Declaration of Independence: you can truly Pursue Your Happiness here, wherever it takes you, and we encourage millions more Happy Travelers to find their happiness right here in Pennsylvania.


To learn more about Pennsylvania’s greater-than-great outdoors, visit the state tourism website. To stay up-to-date on all Pennsylvania news, follow DCED on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.