Pennsylvania's rural areas are facing hard economic times, and a state lawmaker believes that tourism could be the answer.
“Pennsylvania is one of the largest rural states in the union, and when you look statistically it is our rural Pennsylvania that has the highest unemployment rates and I think it needs to be addressed,” said state Sen. John Wozniak (D-Cambria).
He wants to aid rural communities by allotting tax payer dollars to marketing tourism to those communities. “I would like to see some marketing money coming back into rural Pennsylvania … to advertise what we’re all about,” Wozniak said.
He said that tourists want to come to places where they can go canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, golfing, and rural Pennsylvanian is just the place for those activities. He believes that building a comprehensive strategy to strengthen tourism is one way to fuel economic development.
Because the rural communities have fewer resources, Wozniak says that they are unable to advertise their amenities, and that is where the state can assist. The senator said that the commonwealth should partner with rural businesses, so rural Pennsylvania can market the area as a tourist attraction, boosting the economy.
The senator believes that the tax payer dollars would come back in time. “That investment of tax payer dollars pays itself back many times over, by the creation of businesses jobs taking people off the unemployment lines and creating jobs for them” said Wozniak.