HARRISBURG PA – Montgomery County‘s tourism industry got a boost Tuesday (Oct. 27, 2009), with more than $1.1 million in grants awarded by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Gov. Ed Rendell announced. About 13 percent of the total $8 million in grant money distributed went to area and regional tourism promotion.

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Shopping, the arts, nature, and history all are promoted on the website of the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The continuing “Philadelphia and its Countryside” campaign, which promotes Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia counties, received $900,000 under a Regional Marketing Partnership place-based grant. Additionally, the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau was given $267,542 under a Tourism Promotion Assistance grant.

In the broader region the “Dutch Country Roads” campaign, which covers Berks and eight other counties, received $425,000; the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, $106,633; and the Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau, $61,362.

“Even in a challenging economy, Pennsylvania recognizes the need to invest in our tourism industry because it generates more than $28 billion in economic impact, an amount greater than the recently enacted state budget,” Rendell said.

Under a 2008 state law, recognized tourism promotion agencies are awarded funding based on a formula that weighs the agency’s eligible expenses, hotel room revenues, and an evaluation of the proposed use for the funding.

The law also provides funding for regional marketing partnership organizations in two categories: place- and experience-based. Place-based organizations work to promote a specific region of the state while experience-based organizations promote a unique experience or activity.

Grants must be used to create or expand new and innovative programs that complement the state’s tourism promotion efforts. That may include advertising campaigns, public relations strategies, online marketing efforts, and Web site development.

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