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Local News

Pa. launches ‘Great American Getaway’ tourism push

Gov. Josh Shapiro unveils Pennsylvania’s new state tourism brand: Pennsylvania: The Great American Getaway at PNC Field in Moosic May 20, 2024 (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
May 20, 2024

Gov. Josh Shapiro is taking his show (and his family) on the road. 

The Shapiros are kicking off a weeklong RV tour to promote a new tourism initiative in the state, titled Pennsylvania: The Great American Getaway. The aim is to help draw the 72 million Americans who live within a four-hour drive of the Keystone State’s borders to come enjoy the state’s many attractions.

“We need a tourism brand that is exciting, that sells,” Shapiro said Monday at PNC Field in Moosic, home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. “And it sells what is so great about Pennsylvania, and I want you to know that you have an administration that is ready to go out and promote the heck out of this commonwealth.”

Shapiro’s Monday visit to Lackawanna County is his first stop on the RV tour, which will include 50 stops in 14 counties. He’ll be joined by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis for parts of the tour, as well as his wife Lori Shapiro and their four children. 

“That’s right: you’re going to learn about family dynamics in the Shapiro family when we all board that RV,” Shapiro said, to laughter from the audience. 

Shapiro said that Pennsylvania’s tourism industry generates nearly $77 billion in economic impact to the state each year and supports close to 500,000 jobs. He believes those numbers can be improved, if the state legislature approves his budget proposal, which includes a 60% boost, or $18 million, in tourism and marketing efforts.

In 2022, he said visitors spent almost $800 million in Pennsylvania on tourism, and believes $1 billion is an attainable goal for one year. 

“But for too long, Pennsylvania let’s face it, we have lagged behind other states,” Shapiro said, naming New York, Michigan, and Illinois as some of the state’s top competitors in the tourism space.

Joe Massaro, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, cited the state’s Economic of Impact and Travel report, which found Pennsylvania’s tourism efforts lagged behind other states’. 

“Over $15 billion in visitor spending and tax revenue were left on the table due to inadequate state marketing investment,” Massaro said. 

The summer marketing campaign is running from late May through August in regional markets, including New York City, Washington DC, Cleveland, Toronto, and statewide across Pennsylvania.

“It’s easy to get to Pennsylvania and then once you’re here and I say this not just as your governor, but as a father of four, you’ll find there is something for every member of your family,” Shapiro said.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.