The Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership will utilize the private sector to strengthen and enhance state tourism.

A joint private/public partnership led by Team Pennsylvania Foundation will work to strengthen Pennsylvania’s tourism industry.

Working in cooperation with the Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Tourism Office and the Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism (PATT),  Team PA will operate the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership, an initiative that will utilize the private sector to create a marketing plan for tourism.

The partnership has hired a dedicated project consultant, Lynn Burkholder, to work with the three agencies to develop a steering committee tasked with growing the partnership. Burkholder will work closely with DCED’s Tourism Director, Diane McGraw, to advance the initiative’s mission.

“After nearly 25 years of the tourism industry exploring this collaborative approach to tourism marketing, we are beginning to make this historic Tourism Public/Private Partnership a reality,” said DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker. “The addition of Lynn Burkholder as project director is an essential step to move the partnership forward to strengthen PA’s tourism industry by helping to create a sustainable funding source and to develop a long-term state tourism marketing plan.”

Burkholder has served Pennsylvania’s hospitality, travel/tourism and entertainment industries for more than 10 years.

She opened the first gaming and entertainment facility in central Pennsylvania, serving as Vice President of Marketing for Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. Prior, Burkholder served as Director of Resorts Marketing for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company.

She founded RLB Marketing, LLC in January, 2010. Her company develops strategic business and marketing plans for its clients and facilitates their execution, when needed. While RLB Marketing works with small- and mid-size businesses and organizations from a variety of industries, its niche is hospitality, travel and entertainment. RLB Marketing was instrumental in establishing the Pennsylvania Association of Travel & Tourism (PATT).

The newly created Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership will enhance and strengthen the state’s tourism efforts by engaging the private sector to help create a targeted, comprehensive marketing plan.

The Tourism Office will continue to represent the state’s involvement in the partnership and will be actively engaged on the Steering Committee.

“We look forward to working with Lynn and our partners in the coming months as we take this important step to strengthen our opportunities to market and promote the commonwealth as a major national and international tourism destination,” said McGraw.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership has received start-up funding from DCED and will be housed at Team PA.

“Team PA is honored to expand upon our successful public/private partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support a sector that bolsters the state’s economy by $37.2 billion annually,” said Matt Zieger, President and CEO, Team PA. “This formal joint venture between the tourism industry and the commonwealth is a groundbreaking new model for service delivery that will engage some of the brightest minds in the industry to advance Pennsylvania as a premier travel and tourism destination.”

The Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership initiative has received the support of the PATT.

“Creating the public private Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership has long been a goal and initiative of the Travel and Tourism industry in Pennsylvania. We are thrilled that Lynn Burkholder has been hired as the Project Director for the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership,” said Rob Fulton, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism. “Lynn has a wealth of knowledge about our industry, she understands the needs of our stakeholders and the importance of bringing the public and private sectors together in a more collaborative way to promote and market Pennsylvania as a great destination.”

The Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership is in the process of developing a dedicated website, which will provide updates and information about the progress of the initiative.