PA Tourism Needs New Slogan With Staying Power
Do you know what Pennsylvania’s slogan is? Chances are good that you do not. Why? Because the Commonwealth gets a new slogan every four to eight years as each new governor takes office.

Tourism is Pennsylvania’s second largest industry with a total economic impact of $68.4 billion in 2013. The industry also supports 479,000 jobs. Given tourism’s reach in our state, it is easy to understand why a governor would want to make his or her mark on the industry with a catchy new slogan, but at what cost?

Re-branding does not come cheap. In addition to the printing of travel guides, brochures, maps, broadcast commercials, billboards and other promotional material, there are welcome signs along our roadways, at state parks and other key locations that must be updated.

As a member of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee for the past several years, I was invited to participate in a tourism industry panel discussion recently in Harrisburg. I raised the issue of our “revolving door” of state slogans and it was met with enthusiastic applause. It seems the industry, too, has grown weary of the constant re-branding of Pennsylvania with slogans that are not only not memorable, but cannot begin to describe its diverse tourism offerings.

With that said, I will let you decide if the more recent offerings moved you out of your chair and to a Pennsylvania tourism destination. Our current tourism slogan is “State of Independence.” If you did not know this or remember it, you are in good company. Other recent offerings include: America Starts Here, Memories Last a Lifetime, and the grammatically challenged You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.

Every slogan takes time and money to develop. First, you need marketing professionals to come up with a variety of concepts. Once these are developed and refined, they are typically tested, using focus groups, to determine which option is the most preferred. While this process may enable marketers to pick a slogan, it is no guarantee of its success.

Are slogans effective in attracting tourists? Yes. Industry representatives, who include travel and lodging professionals, restauranteurs, and operators of amusement parks and other tourism destinations, assert that a good slogan, used over a long period of time, can be very effective. The industry professionals I spoke with advocated for a new slogan — one with staying power that would withstand the whims or ability of future administrations to change it. The way to achieve this is by putting it in statute.

I asked the tourism professionals in attendance to get together and develop a slogan that meets their standards and would offer long-term promotional benefit to the Commonwealth. With this, I pledged to develop legislation aimed at putting the slogan into law. My bill would give those whose livelihood depends upon tourism a voice and the opportunity for their message to have the staying power they say they need.

Representative Dan Moul
91st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
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