Latest State Reports Show Positive Impact on Local & National Economy.

HARRISBURG, PA (Dec. 12, 2012) – Leaders of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHR) delivered important results on Tuesday morning to the audience of 130 local tourism stakeholders attending the organization’s 2012 Annual Partnership Breakfast at The Hotel Hershey.

Scott Miller, Deputy Director of Marketing & Public Relations at Harrisburg International Airport and Chairman of the HHRVB Board, reported that despite the pending “Fiscal Cliff” faced by the federal government this month, the nation’s tourism industry has reported a twelfth consecutive month of job creation in November.

Locally, the tourism industry in Dauphin and Perry counties, making up the Hershey Harrisburg Region, employs 26,000 people and was responsible for an estimated $2 billion in direct spending by visitors annually according to the latest study conducted in 2010 for the PA Tourism Office by Longwoods International & Tourism Economics.

According to the report, that level of spending by visitors ranks the HHR as the fourth largest region in Pennsylvania behind Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and the Poconos.

Miller described the local tourism industry as “a powerful engine that drives the local economy” by generating approximately $220 million in state and local tax revenues each year and supporting more full-time jobs in Dauphin and Perry counties than either the state or the federal governments, and nearly as many jobs as the next top five non-tourism employers in the region.

Miller also reminded the audience of hoteliers, restaurateurs, and local tourism stakeholders how fortunate they all are to be employed in the tourism and service industry because it creates jobs that cannot be easily outsourced abroad or replaced through automation.

“Since the national labor market bottomed out in February 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor and Industry reported the rate of jobs returning in the tourism sector outpaced other industries by 26 percent and accounted for nearly 5 percent of the new jobs created nationally in the first quarter of 2012,” Miller said.

According to a new study by Oxford Economics and the U.S. Travel Association, the trade group for the nation's travel industry, more than half of all travel industry jobs in the U.S. pay a middle-class salary or higher, defining "middle class" as those who earn between 75 percent and 200 percent of the median U.S. wage, or roughly $37,500 to $100,000 per year.

The study, which analyzed more than three decades of data for its findings, reported that two out of five workers who start their careers in the travel industry go on to earn more than $100,000 per year, and travel jobs provide skills that translate into rewarding careers and greater access to educational opportunities than many other industries.