According to a recent study, Pennsylvania is moving away from the money on the table, figuratively speaking, with the tourism industry.
An economic impact study by Tourism Economics shows that for every dollar taken from the government’s tourism budget, there is nearly $5 in lost state and local tax revenue.
Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitor Bureau, said: “Tourism is an investment in Pennsylvania. Every dollar invested in tourism promotion in Pennsylvania generates $65 in additional visitor spending and $4.47 in additional state and local taxes.”
She continued, “Despite having one of the largest tourism economies in the US, Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget is substantially underfunded compared to Pennsylvania’s budget. our competitors, ranking 35th out of 41 states in fiscal year 2020-21.”
The study was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Hotel Association (PRLA), along with many of the state’s destination marketing organizations, and shows that the combined impact of travel supports nearly seven percent of state jobs and $4.8 billion in state and local taxes. , despite the lack of significant investments from the state, representatives of the association say.
What will the loss of this amount of taxes mean?
“Pennsylvania and local governments will be required to assess each household in Pennsylvania with an additional $950 per year tax to replace travel and tourism taxes,” the study report says.
The study found that Pennsylvania has spent $152 million less on tourism promotion since 2015. In turn, this resulted in $9.7 billion in lost visitor spending, 11,300 lost jobs per year, $679 million in lost state and local taxes, and $4.5 billion in lost labor income.
The study found that while the impact of the pandemic was significant, the travel and tourism sector did not reach its full potential even before COVID-19.
“Pennsylvania saw a significant decline in the share of travel marketing, with its share of visitor spending among eight competing states declining by 6.3% (1.1 percentage points) between 2010 and 2019,” the report said.
In fiscal year 2021-22, the state allocated $9.1 million to the Pennsylvania Tourism Authority. This is “substantially less than in fiscal year 2008-2009, when Pennsylvania’s budget for state tourism marketing was $29.8 million.”
And that’s significantly less than the $39 million recommended in Pennsylvania’s 2015 “appropriate destination marketing budget” analysis.
A comparison of Pennsylvania with other states shows that “Given its size, Pennsylvania spends far less than virtually all other states on tourism promotion activities in the state.”
When comparing 2020-2021 travel budgets, Hawaii was in first place with $77 million, while Pennsylvania ranked 35th with $9 million. Of the locally competitive states, only Delaware’s tourism budget was lower at $3 million.
The study also showed that…