Pennsylvania retains Tierney for tourism comms

HARRISBURG, PA: Pennsylvania is sticking with integrated firm Tierney as its PR agency partner to promote it as both as a tourism destination and business location.

HARRISBURG, PA: Pennsylvania is sticking with integrated firm Tierney as its PR agency partner to promote it as both as a tourism destination and business location.

The one-year contract is worth $4 million, and it has two option years. Of that, $500,000 will be set aside for tourism outreach, while $3.5 million will go to economic-development promotion, according to the RFP for the contract. Tierney was the incumbent on the account.

The agency's scope of work includes strategic planning, marketing, and traditional and social media outreach, as well as some paid advertising. A representative from the Philadelphia-based firm did not return a request for comment.

“Tierney presented a comprehensive, yet manageable proposal that best met our needs outlined in the request for proposals,” said Steven Kratz, director of communications at Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development.

The state described its brand as being in transition due to the natural gas boom it has seen. It has also noticed a more diverse set of businesses opening in the state in the last few years.

Despite this, the state has been “plagued” by the perception that it is not business friendly due to high taxes. It wants to make the case that it is indeed “open for business,” according to procurement documents. In recent years, the state's General Assembly has worked towards providing new tax credits and lowering its levy on companies.

Pennsylvania wants to add more manufacturing, life sciences, agribusiness, and energy entities to the roster of companies that operate in the state, according to procurement documents. It views Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York as its primary economic-development competitors.

In terms of tourism, visitor spending jumped 8.9% to $37.2 billion in 2011, compared with the year prior. More than 180 million people visited Pennsylvania that year, up 1.4% from 2010. A 2012 annual assessment was not yet available.

Meanwhile, Nebraska's Tourism Commission has hired the agency Swanson Russell to promote the state as a travel destination.

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