Pennsylvania taxpayers get strapped to a roller coaster over spending on tourism
Station Square doesn't have a Sky Coaster, so Ohio dairy farmers expecting to ride it will return to their cows frustrated and disappointed.
That's a roundabout way of saying state lawmakers were focused on solving the wrong tourism-related problem Tuesday. As a result, they created an unnecessary new government entity, threw several million dollars at it, and told it to go inspire out-of-state folks to visit Pennsylvania.
The House established the Pennsylvania Tourism Commission and gave it $3 million in marketing money from the Department of Community and Economic Development. That agency already is tasked with attracting tourists to Pennsylvania and operates the state tourism website, VisitPa.com.
In justifying the further fortification of the state's already impenetrable bureaucracy, House Transportation Chairman Jerry Stern, R-Blair County, told the Pennsylvania Independent website that the commission could provide better continuity to the state's marketing efforts. He noted that Pennsylvania's official state slogan changes with virtually every new governor.
But having a commission devise a single static slogan, as Stern suggested, probably is unwise given the previous prosaic attempts to come up with something clever.
The current slogan, “State of Independence,” is an oblique acknowledgement that Pennsylvania is where the founding fathers signed the declaration excising us from England. It does little to lure coaster-loving dairy farmers from the Buckeye State.
Previous slogans also were lacking when it came to attracting tourists. Take “You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania.”
What kind of accomplishment is that? If you can't make a single friend in a state whose population tops 12 million, you're obviously antisocial and never leave your living room, where the curtains probably are always drawn.
Stern implied that a key reason why the commission was created was to come up with a killer new slogan. Will that be effective in increasing tourism? Probably not nearly as much as making the VisitPa website more accurate.
Search the site for Pittsburgh-area amusement parks and the results returned will include:
• Horror Realm, an always well-received local convention appealing to guts-and gore groupies. Horror Realm offers plenty of fake blood and phony entrails, but try finding a merry-go-round there.
• SportsWorks, the Carnegie Science Center's interactive science and sports exhibition. SportsWorks has a unicycle that visitors can ride high above the exhibit gallery, but is entirely lacking in water rides.
• Station Square on the South Side. You won't find a single coaster there, but that shouldn't be surprising. It's a retail, restaurant and office complex.
A new commission isn't needed to boost state tourism. What's needed is a tourism website that isn't destined to disappoint dairy farmers eagerly anticipating their ride on the nonexistent Station Square Sky Coaster.
I'll preach that till the cows come home.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Elites, media & character
- Burnett’s stellar start paves way for Pirates’ victory over Diamondbacks
- Pirates’ Cole reinforces status as emerging ace
- Rossi: Penguins’ best bet is on Martin
- Pitt AD Barnes has enjoyed varied career in college sports
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
- Employees of Mercer County-based manufacturer among missing in Nepal
- Internal NBC News inquiry finds 11 fibs by anchorman Williams
- Biertempfel: Observations from a day at the ballpark
- From injuries to front office, Penguins’ season didn’t lack drama
- It’s business, but not as usual in Pittsburgh