Gov. Edward G. Rendell today announced the investment of $10.6 million in the state's 49 tourism promotion agencies to help them attract more travelers with enhanced promotional efforts.Chester County will get $134,756 to promote tourism, and Lancaster County will get $975,000. Tourism is Lancaster County's top commerce.

"Tourism is a major industry in Pennsylvania, creating jobs, enriching communities and helping Pennsylvania build and grow its economy," Governor Rendell said. "Every region of Pennsylvania is more equipped than ever to provide visitors with the best possible experience.

"By every measure of success, Pennsylvania's tourism industry is stronger than ever. Hotel bookings are up and more day-trippers are visiting," he said. "More than 500,000 jobs exist in the commonwealth due to the travel and tourism industry."

The base grants will be used by local TPAs to develop promotional materials, advertisements and other marketing activities. As part of Governor Rendell's support of regional cooperation, five percent of the $10.6 million in grants, or $529,400, is earmarked for set-aside funding for cooperative marketing projects in which at least two TPAs work together.

Pennsylvania's matching funds grant program is the oldest and one of the largest in the nation.

Pennsylvania is the fifth most visited state in the country, with an estimated 138 million visitors annually. Travelers to Pennsylvania spent approximately $27 billion in 2006, including nearly $19.1 billion by leisure visitors on transportation, food, rooms, shopping, entertainment, and other items, representing a 20 percent increase from 2002.

For more information about Pennsylvania's tourism industry, go to www.visitpa.com, or call 800-VISITPA.

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