Tribune Democrat: by Kecia Bal

Pennsylvania is turning to the Declaration of Independence to inspire its new tourism motto.

State officials unveiled the slogan "Pennsylvania. Pursue Your Happiness" and a logo on Tuesday at what organizers  – the Pennsylvania Tourism Office and the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership – called an industry-only event at Glades Pike Winery in Somerset County.

Liz Diesel, the winery's general manager, said she thinks the line represents an intent to lure adventure-seekers. Diesel, also vice president of the Pennsylvania Wine Association, helped gather and prepare the research.

"It's a message that resonates with residents, the business community and tourists," she said. "People come here to be active – that pursuit of happiness."

Somerset County tourism industry businesses have been well positioned to work together to tap into outdoor adventure and historic destinations, she said, especially through the efforts of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau.

The slogan and logo are products of months of industry input and focus group testing of creative concepts, which revealed a strong traveler preference for an active and action-oriented tone and a fun, adventurous brand personality, according to a release from the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, housed under the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The state spent $250,000 on research and brand development, and plans to expend another $500,000 to implement it.

The slogan takes the place of "The State of Independence," the winner from among 22,000 submissions in a 2004 contest.

Before that, state tourism slogans were "Pennsylvania Memories Last a Lifetime," ''You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania," and "America Starts Here."

Officials say tourism in Pennsylvania is a $40 billion industry.

Karen Winner Sed, co-chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership, said in a release that the brand has broad appeal.

 "This new slogan encourages travelers to satisfy a core virtue which we all desire and can never have too much of – happiness," she said. "Happiness is a universal aspiration. Whether you are looking to explore the outdoors, a historical attraction, or an urban setting, the overarching motivator is happiness." 

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