2018 Happy Traveler Trip Planning Guide Released for National Plan for Vacation Day

Guide serves as a solution for 662 million unused vacation days annually in America FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 30, 2018 Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office announced the release of its annual Happy Traveler state travel guide, in coordination with a national effort to reduce the number of unused vacation days. The guide is a resource to encourage and inspire avid travelers to experience happiness in Pennsylvania. January 30, 2018 marks National Plan for Vacation Day. On average, 51 percent of Americans skip the one step that could help them vacation – planning. Since 2000, vacation usage has been steadily declining. In 2016, workers reported taking just 16.8 days, almost a full work week fewer than the pre-2000 average of 20.3 days. In Pennsylvania, 45 percent of the workforce has unused vacation days for a total of more than 23 million days. These unused days account for $3.8 billion in potential economic impact. With the release of the Happy Traveler guide in January, travelers are encouraged to declare their time off and plan vacations in Pennsylvania at the beginning of the year. “In 2018, we want travelers to experience a new first in Pennsylvania – their first maple-tapping experience, first train ride on the Horseshoe Curve, or first lake front vacation,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary for Marketing, Tourism, and Film at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “Pennsylvania offers an unmatched mix of cultural offerings, rich history, and fantastic outdoors experiences that make it an obvious choice for fulfilling the pursuit of happiness. The Happy Traveler guide is the go-to resource for planning that pursuit.” This year’s feature story celebrates Pennsylvania’s historic railroads that created arteries of commerce, birthed towns along their routes, and transformed Pennsylvania into an industrial giant. These railroads are celebrated in vintage rail car rides, fall foliage tours, and inspiring museums. You can experience Strasburg Rail Road’s five working steam engines and 19 wooden passenger cars, the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, the Electric City Trolley Museum, the Lehigh George Scenic Railway, and many others. Other features in the guide include: A look at makerspaces along with some iconic Pennsylvania products; A wonderful dose of weirdness from off-the-wall attractions; A sweet guide into maple tapping and events; First Friday finds across the commonwealth; and A “Crossword Puzzylvania” challenge for readers to test their knowledge of the Keystone State. Along with the Happy Traveler release, the Tourism Office had a successful year in marketing the state. Despite limited resources, the state conducted a digital spring/summer advertising campaign in metropolitan New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Cleveland, and Columbus. Also, for the first time in more than a decade, the office ran an advertising campaign to promote fall travel and collaborated with PENNDOT on a design for new “Welcome to Pennsylvania” signs that greet travelers when they enter the commonwealth. Finally, to inspire travel through an online lifestyle publication, a new blog, PAHappyThoughts.com, was launched. The Happy Traveler is available digitally at visitPA.com or in print by requesting one at visitPA.com or by calling 1-800-VISIT-PA. National Plan for a Vacation Day is presented by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, the leading a national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior so that taking time off is understood as essential to personal wellbeing, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.? The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is a member of the U.S. Travel Association. The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to Pennsylvania. For more information, go to the visitPA website or sign up for our Happy Thoughts newsletter, become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out photos on Instagram, share pins on Pinterest, or watch us on Youtube. MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Gerber, 717-783-1132 ###
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