New report: PA Wilds region hits record high in traveler spending in 2018

New report: PA Wilds region hits record high in traveler spending in 2018

Travelers to the Pennsylvania Wilds in 2018 spent more money than ever before, breaking previous records for the 12-county region in rural north-central Pennsylvania, according to a new report.

“Travelers spent more than $1.8 billion in the Pennsylvania Wilds region in 2018 – a 2.2% increase from 2017 and new record high,” The Economic Impact of Travel in Pennsylvania, Tourism Satellite Account Calendar Year 2018 by Tourism Economics report states.

Half of the counties in the Pennsylvania Wilds saw increases in traveler spending over the previous year, while the other six remain in line with previous spending. All 12 counties have seen dramatic increases in traveler spending over the previous 10 years, similar to statewide trends.

In addition to traveler spending and visitor numbers increasing, visitors are creating other benefits for the region’s communities. (Note: The following percentages reflect change over the previous year.) According to the report, the Pennsylvania Wilds has seen:

  • 1.2% Increase in travel-related jobs. All 12 counties had increases in this category.
  • The travel industry accounted for a 10.6% share of the region’s employment in 2018.
  • Travel industry provides 11.1% of the labor income earned in the region in 2018.
  • 2.2% increase in labor income.
  • 3.5% increase in state and local taxes collected (from visitor spending on goods, services, etc.).
  • 4.4% increase in federal taxes  (from visitor spending on goods, services, etc.).

“Through their spending and positive impacts on our region’s small businesses, visitors coming the Wilds ultimately encourage communities to preserve and invest in the unique natural and cultural assets that make our region both unique and attractive. These investments are vital to continuing to attract and build capacity for visitors, which ultimately assists in reversing other economic trends in our region and ensuring that our small businesses are capable of accessing a greater share of market opportunities within their respective industries,” said Ta Enos, Founder and CEO of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.

Josiah Jones, Executive Director of Visit Clearfield County, is excited about the recent report findings and to see the impacts on the ground. He said, “We are very excited to see that traveler spending has increased at a record level in our PA Wilds region and in Clearfield County for many reasons. As a Destination Management Organization, we strive on well thought out marketing and advertising that will help bring visitors to our area, and we are always looking for a rate of return. This report gives you the data and support you need so that you can continue making the right choices or decisions for promoting your region or county. This is also a testament of how well we work together with our partnerships and communities locally and regionally. We cannot make strides economically without the help of our community and regional partnerships.”


The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. (Note: in economic reports, Centre County is not included as only a portion of the county is part of the Pennsylvania Wilds.) The Pennsylvania Wilds is one of 11 distinct geographic areas in the Commonwealth that have been designated as Tourism Regions by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Each region features unique natural, cultural and historical assets. For more information on the region, visit  

The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center coordinates efforts among dozens of partners from the public and private sectors to grow nature and heritage tourism in the region as a way to create jobs, diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, improve quality of life. In addition, the PA Wilds Center promotes the region as a premier outdoor recreation destination and manages the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a business network of over 300 place-based businesses, as well as the PA Wilds Conservation Shop. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit

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