PA Governor Rendell Announces New Welcome Center at Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Neshaminy Service Plaza

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ — Governor Edward G. Rendell today said that three Pennsylvania agencies have collaborated with a regional tourism agency to provide visitors with a new gateway into the commonwealth to serve some of the state’s 126 million annual visitors.

Governor Rendell announced a new welcome center on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 276 westbound, at the Neshaminy service plaza. The welcome center is the result of a first-time collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and Philadelphia’s Independence Visitors Center Corporation (IVCC).

“Pennsylvania’s Welcome Centers are the first point of contact with our visitors,” said Governor Rendell. “With the addition of the Neshaminy Welcome Center, we will be able to share vital information about Pennsylvania products, experiences and attractions with visitors who travel along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.”

“Tourism is a vital part of Pennsylvania’s economy and we want to make sure our visitors know all that we have to offer,” Governor Rendell said.

The Welcome Center at Neshaminy is the 13th center in a network across the commonwealth that reaches more than three million customers each year and plays an important role in serving as the first point of contact for and supporting Pennsylvania’s $23 billion tourism industry. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

In an effort to further enhance the Welcome Center system, Pennsylvania will be opening four additional Welcome Centers over the next year on the other end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76 (eastbound) at the Zelienople service plaza near the Ohio border (a collaborative effort with the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau), in the Endless Mountains region along I-81 Southbound near the New York border, in the Great Lakes region in Erie along I-90 near the New York border, and I-80 at Delaware Water Gap, near the New Jersey border. The addition of these four Welcome Centers will make Pennsylvania’s Welcome Center network the largest in the nation.

Pennsylvania is the fourth most visited state in the country, tied with New York, with approximately 126 million visitors annually. The total impact of travelers’ spending on Pennsylvania’s economy is approximately $23 billion a year, and tourism is responsible for more than 520,000 jobs.

The IVCC is a partnership between several area tourism promotion agencies in the Greater Philadelphia region and assists the millions of visitors who travel to Philadelphia with a free comprehensive view of the culture, history, shopping and dining options available throughout the region.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, 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-VISITPA.

The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/.

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