LACKAWAXEN — On the day Governor Tom Corbett took a kayak down the Delaware River to promote the state’s natural resources, Action 16 Investigates asked why Pennsylvania devotes so little money to tourism.
It is our second largest industry next to agriculture, and yet Pennsylvania spends less money than most states around us.
The view of the Delaware River and the rolling hills near Lackawaxen can be breathtaking.
Governor Corbett wanted to show it’s a great place to go kayaking, despite being surrounded by jeering anti-gas drilling protesters.
“The trip was great,” said the Governor as he got out of the kayak at Lackawaxen’s Zane Grey landing, and headed across the street to the Zane Grey Museum, named after the well-known writer of westerns, who once made Lackawaxen home.
Touring seems to be a part of Governor Corbett`s job as “salesman-in-chief” for the tourist industry, in a state whose tourism spending can be called stingy.
“So if I can help stimulate it by coming out, getting you to come out and see us here, and talk about tourism in the state, we`re going to do that,” the Governor told reporters.
According to the US Travel Association, Pennsylvania`s state government spends less than any surrounding state.
Maryland $9.7 million
New Jersey $9 million
West Virginia $7.4 million
Pennsylvania $5.4 million*
Ohio $5 million
New York N/A
Take a look at Pennsylvania’s spending on travel and tourism promotion compared to significantly smaller states.
Arkansas $14.1 million
Kentucky $11.7 million
New Hampshire $6.8 million
Pennsylvania $5.4 million*
Nebraska $5.2 million
When asked about these tourism budget numbers, Governor Corbett said,
“I think we`ve maintained it or maybe reduced it a little bit.”
Still the Governor said tourist dollars are lucrative, the fight for them is fierce. He added that if Pennsylvania wants people to come to the most beautiful parts of the state. The state will have to sell it.
Tourists Terry and Louise Bohlanger are from Virginia, visiting the Zane Grey Museum. Virginia has only 60% of Pennsylvania’s population, but spends four times as much on advertising, and we asked the Bohlingers if they’ve ever seen ads for Pennsylanvia.
“A few little things in ‘Southern Living’ magazine are the only things I have seen,” said Louise Bohlinger.
“I`ve seen recent Michigan ads, but I have not seen a Pennsylvania ad,” said Terry.
Governor Corbett correctly said the steep cuts in Pennsylvania’s tourism budget began before he took office.
He said he’ll push for an increase next year, though he wouldn’t say how much.
*Action 16 originally reported Pennsylvania’s budget for spending on tourism was $4 million. The new state budget that passed on June 30th has raised the amount of spending for tourism to $5.4 million.