For Immediate Release: May 5, 2015
Contacts: Jane Sheffield, President of HeritagePA, (814) 932-7754
HeritagePA Launching New Awareness Campaign as Part of Tourism Week
(HARRISBURG, PA) – Today, HeritagePA, the state’s collective body of the twelve state-designated Heritage Areas, celebrated one of the state’s leading economic driver – tourism. Operating since 1989, the Heritage Areas have transformed special places in Pennsylvania, helping to create a state with worldwide appeal for visitors and guests.
“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania holds within its boundaries some of the most significant historic, cultural, and recreational sites in the country,” said Jane Sheffield, heritage manager for the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area and president of HeritagePA. “It is those sites that make the great state of Pennsylvania a must-see destination for travelers from all over the world. These visitors spend money in our small businesses, stay at locally owned and operated hotels and lodges, eat in our neighborhood restaurants and enjoy recreational activities supported by local outfitters and operators. This economic impact has, and continues to, support our communities and one of the Commonwealth’s leading industries — tourism.”
Heritage tourism supports more than 25,000 jobs, and heritage defined visitors were responsible for more than $126.5 million in state and local tax revenues in 2014. Heritage areas conserve and develop cultural, historic and recreational infrastructure that preserves regional assets, and connect Pennsylvania’s legacy to the present day, while providing the state’s tourism an even stronger viability to revitalize our communities — so that Pennsylvania continues to be a desirable place to live, work, raise a family and prosper.
The twelve state-designated Heritage Areas in the Commonwealth are:
➢ Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area
➢ Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
➢ Endless Mountains Heritage Region
➢ Lackawanna Heritage Valley
➢ Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor
➢ Lumber Heritage Region
➢ National Road Heritage Corridor
➢ Oil Region National Heritage Area
➢ PA Rout 6 Heritage Corridor
➢ Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
➢ Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area
➢ Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area
“Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas provide important recreation and conservation projects that encourage Pennsylvanians to learn about their heritage while also getting out and being active,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Acting Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “They are helping Pennsylvania create an outstanding network of long distance destination trails. The D&L, Schuylkill River, and Erie to Pittsburgh trails are drawing more than one million visitors annually resulting in a direct economic impact to the local economies of more than $33 million.”
It is this theme of ‘Heritage is Now’ that HeritagePA also launched today its new awareness campaign.
Preserving the past through educational opportunities, while promoting the heritage of a region or corridor in a way that present day visitors will enjoy and engage, is a motivating force behind the Heritage Areas.
While the heritage areas focus on the historical significance of a site, or area, or region, the work produced is very much in touch with the needs and demands of the present day. Downtown revitalization, brownfield redevelopment, tourist attractions, and other economic projects; these are all the priorities of the Heritage Areas.
Based on survey data from the The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, it is estimated that Heritage tourism’s direct contribution of visitor spending to the state economy was 19,333 jobs, $477.8 million in labor income, and $709 million in value added effects. The estimated 7.5 million out of state heritage visitor party days/night accounted for more than $2 billion of visitor related expenditures, approximately an average of $277 per party day/night.
“HeritagePA, and the Heritage Areas Program, are Pennsylvania’s premier partnership program,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition. “These twelve critical heritage areas operating across the Commonwealth provide purpose, accessibility, and excitement to some of our most special place, while significantly adding a return on investment in the form of increased tax revenues, small business revenue, and personal income.”
With a network of 12 state-designated heritage areas operating within the program, HeritagePA serves as the collective voice that speaks to the importance of heritage areas — how they bring Pennsylvania’s rich history and natural resources to life and breathe new life into the state’s economy and sense of community. For more information, visit www.HeritagePa.com and follow HeritagePA on Twitter and Facebook @HeritageIsNow.