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Pa. Gov. Shapiro unveils state tourism rebrand

Josh Shapiro speaks at a lectern inside a baseball stadium.
Commonwealth Media Services
Gov. Josh Shapiro, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger joined statewide tourism leaders at PNC Field in Lackawanna County to unveil Pennsylvania’s new state tourism brand and summer travel marketing campaign.

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration will make tourism a state priority for the first time in a decade.

They plan to show the world that Pennsylvania is "The Great American Getaway," with PNC Field in Lackawanna County serving as backdrop for Monday's announcement.

"It's going to help us grow small businesses, support our communities and create opportunity for more Pennsylvanians," said Shapiro as he stood in the outfield in front of an RV that will be used to promote the new branding.

The governor plans to trek across the state in the colorful vehicle as part of the launch.

Joined by local and state officials during the launch for Monday's event, Shapiro said the most important sites in U.S. history are in Pennsylvania.

He also listed some of the state's many natural resources, including the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon and Lehigh Gorge State Park.

And Shapiro unveiled a new ad for the state's summer marketing campaign. It's voiced by comedian, actor, writer and Pennsylvania native Abbi Jacobson.

Over the next week Shapiro will embark on his own Great American Getaway, making 50 stops across 14 counties to promote the rebrand and the commonwealth's tourism industry. Shapiro will be making the tour with his wife and four children, as well as Lt. Gov. Austin Davis.

Shapiro's budget proposal includes an $18 million increase — or 60% — to help provide resources to tourist attractions across the state, including lodging, main streets and restaurants. The state will also promote Pennsylvania across the country.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) looked at travelers and the travel industry while helping to create the brand. The state is within a four-hour drive of 72 million people.

"As we were doing our research, as we were listening to folks, as we were just sort of looking at the data, what became clear is like, this is the hotspot in America for a two- or three-day road trip," Shapiro said.

Tourism contributes $77 billion to the state’s economy every year. Almost half a million residents work in tourism.

"With this new initiative, we will be able to put the name and images of our beautiful Commonwealth in front of every prospective visitor across the nation," said Joe Massaro, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The governor chose Northeastern Pennsylvania to launch the new state tourism brand because the area has a little bit of everything. He says many people start their getaways in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Curt Camoni is executive director of the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau. He said states like New York spend more money than Pennsylvania to promote tourism.

“We are back in the game and can start telling people what an amazing place Pennsylvania is to visit and to live," he said.

Shapiro said there’s no partisanship when it comes to selling Pennsylvania.

“It's common sense to invest in tourism, it's common sense to invest in this type of marketing, it's common sense to invest in Pennsylvania and attracting more people to our commonwealth,” he said.

The governor's next stop on the tour is Philadelphia.

Copyright 2024 WVIA.

Kat Bolus | WVIA News