Governor Josh Shapiro and First Lady Lori Shapiro Attend Erie’s Total Solar Eclipse Viewing, Emphasize Importance of Tourism to Pennsylvania’s Economy

Erie County estimates as many as 200,000 tourists poured into Northwestern Pennsylvania to glimpse today’s total solar eclipse, injecting up to $50 million in the local economy.   


Tourism is one of the largest and most important industries in Pennsylvania – generating over $76 billion a year and supporting more than 486,000 jobs – and Governor Shapiro proposed an $18 million increase in his 2024-25 budget to boost tourism and business marketing efforts.

Erie, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro and First Lady Lori Shapiro joined NASA Astronaut and Pittsburgh-native Woody Hoburg, Lake Erie Speedway, VisitErie, Erie Downtown Partnership, the Erie Seawolves, and hundreds of thousands of eclipse-watchers from across Pennsylvania and neighboring states to watch the 2024 total solar eclipse. Erie was the only major city in Pennsylvania in the path of totality, with Pennsylvania expected to see up to 200,000 visitors on eclipse day with the majority headed to the northwest corner of the Commonwealth.

While in Erie watching the eclipse, Governor Shapiro emphasized his commitment to boosting Pennsylvania’s tourism industry and business marketing efforts across the Commonwealth with a proposed $18 million increase in the 2024-25 budget.

Visit Erie, the tourist promotion agency for Erie County, anticipates as many as 200,000 visitors traveled to the county, which was the best location in the Commonwealth to view the solar eclipse in its totality. Based on the estimate, the economic boost to businesses and workers in Erie County alone could reach as high as $50 million.

“Pennsylvania is one of 13 states in the path of totality for today’s eclipse – but nowhere else has the beauty of the Erie bayfront. This is one of the largest tourism events ever for Erie, with thousands of visitors enjoying this historic event from Lake Erie Speedway to Presque Isle and getting to experience all that Pennsylvania has to offer," said Governor Josh Shapiro. "But Pennsylvania is a terrific tourist spot for more than just one day. From our restaurants and bars to our state parks, trails, and outdoor recreation outfitters, Pennsylvania is a world-class destination, and we want the rest of the world to know about it. Tourism serves as a powerful economic engine, benefitting nearly every corner of our Commonwealth and giving Pennsylvanians more opportunities to pursue their passion, support their families, and succeed – and that’s why I’m proposing $18 million for tourism and business marketing in my budget to continue to attract visitors to our great Commonwealth.”

Tourism is one of the largest and most important industries in Pennsylvania, generating over $76 billion a year and supporting more than 486,000 jobs across the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s Tourism and Business Marketing offices are part of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

“The Governor believes now is the time to invest in Pennsylvania’s vibrant tourism industry and the businesses and entrepreneurs who drive its economic growth,” said DCED Secretary Rick Siger. “Governor Shapiro’s budget will give a sorely needed boost to tourism operations funding, which in turn will spur Pennsylvania’s economy.”

Governor Shapiro’s Economic Development Strategy – the first of its kind in nearly two decades – prioritizes the tourism industry and adopts a new marketing strategy to showcase all that the Commonwealth has to offer. This strategy builds on the Shapiro Administration’s work to make Pennsylvania a leader in innovation and economic development and to create economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians.   

The Governor’s 2024-25 proposed budget calls for significant investments directly tied to this ten-year strategy and issues a strong call to action for partners across all sectors to join in with their support. The budget includes: $500 million in PA SITES funding to bring more commercial and industrial sites to Pennsylvania; $25 million for the Main Street Matters program to support small businesses and commercial corridors across the Commonwealth; $20 million to support large-scale innovation and leverage Pennsylvania’s best-in-class research and development assets; and $3.5 million to create and launch the Pennsylvania Regional Economic Competitiveness Challenge to incentivize regional growth.

You can read Pennsylvania’s first economic development strategy in nearly 20 years here. For more information on how the Governor’s proposed budget will create opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, visit

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