PA Tourism Announces Record-Breaking Groundhog Day; More than 12,000 Attended Weekday Celebration and Nearly 15,000 Watched Online

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 1 /PRNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Tourism Office today released the results of Groundhog Day 2005, including a record-breaking weekday attendance of 12,000 people, a Web cast audience via VisitPA.com of 14,799 people and the success of a new viral marketing initiative on GroundhogChase.com, where online audiences viewed videos of a groundhog chasing his shadow nearly 200,000 times in less than two months.

“This year we took a different approach to Groundhog Day – one of Pennsylvania’s iconic events – to encourage the public to visit Punxsutawney and the surrounding Pennsylvania Wilds year-round,” said Mickey Rowley, Deputy Secretary of Tourism in the Department of Community and Economic Development. “Our goal was not only to encourage visits to the event itself but to raise awareness and drive traffic to our Web site at VisitPA.com.”

The event in Punxsutawney was supported by a special section on VisitPA.com, which hosted a live Web cast and allowed viewers’ access to Web cams located on Gobbler’s Knob. The Groundhog Day section of VisitPA.com reported 317,835 page views between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5, while 48,062 people viewed the Web cams in the same time period. The Web cast reached an audience in all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Iraq, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Taiwan.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office also created an interactive, viral marketing campaign called GroundhogChase.com where a series of video vignettes were placed on a Web site and followed a groundhog in his quest to catch his shadow before Feb. 2. The goal of the site was to capture the fever of Groundhog Day and let those who discovered the unique site pass it along to their friends through e-mail, Web logs and word-of-mouth. More than 5,000 users that visited the site clicked through to VisitPA.com, following the link that said “Don’t Hibernate” to find out about activities and events going on across Pennsylvania this winter and spring.

In addition, media coverage of Groundhog Day surpassed that of recent years. Broadcast media outlets all over the world downloaded and aired footage of Groundhog Day that was provided via satellite feed as a result of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office’s involvement. The stations aired the footage nearly 5,000 times, a 400 percent increase in media attention over last year’s numbers.

“We are proud to see more and more people catching Groundhog Day fever,” said Ben Hughes, member of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle. “The Pennsylvania Tourism Office has been a wonderful partner for our event, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to bring more people into our area in the years to come.”

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is dedicated to fulfilling the needs and aspirations of travelers by presenting them with the information and resources they need to plan and enjoy the activities, attractions and destinations that are uniquely Pennsylvania.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s tourism industry, go to http://www.visitpa.com/, or call (800) VISIT PA.

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