The Pennsylvania Tourism Office reported Thursday that the state’s tourism industry is returning to 2019 levels.
Pennsylvania welcomed 180 million visitors in 2021, and tourism spending is generating more than $66 billion for the state’s economy and supporting over 452,000 jobs. Visitor spending also contributed $4.2 billion in local and state taxes.
Released in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the 2021 Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism report provides state, regional, and county levels that show the contributions of the tourism industry to the state’s economy.
Carrie Fischer Lepore, Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism & Film, said in a press release that tourism is a significant economic driver that injects billions into Pennsylvania’s economy and helps fund vital services such as education, infrastructure, public safety programs, and transportation.
“Each household in Pennsylvania would need to pay an additional $802 in taxes to replace the tax dollars generated by the tourism industry which were received by state and local governments in 2021,” Lepore said. “We know that these numbers will continue to grow as consumer trends show, yet again, significant enthusiasm for travel to Pennsylvania.”
Containing the most recent available data, the report reveals that visitor activity in Pennsylvania significantly increased in 2021. The rise is related to the reopening of businesses and venues and a boost in traveler confidence.
Notable 2021 results included the following:
- An increase in visitors of more than 28 million from 2020.
- $66.3 billion in state and local taxes.
- 452,885 jobs supported, a ratio of 1-in-17 jobs in the state.
- A $9.1 billion increase in direct visitor spending to reach $38 billion, which includes hotels, restaurants, retailers, and tourism related businesses.
Visitor spending produced $8.8 billion in government revenues, while state and local taxes generated $4.2 billion in 2021, an increase from 2020 of $614 million.
Contributing the most to the economic recovery is the growth in overnight visitor spending, which increased by $7.5 billion in 2021. More than 60 million trips resulted in the spending of $23.2 billion.
The Economic Impact of travel and Tourism report is compiled at the Pennsylvania Tourism Office at DCED. Information for the report is supplied by Tourism Economics, and data is provided by Longwoods International and STR, the latter delivering analytics and marketplace insights for the hospitality industry.
Longwoods’ tracking study of American travelers indicates that 93 percent have trips planned in the next six months, the highest level since 2020.