UPPER MERION — The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board celebrated tourism in Montgomery County this week at its sixth annual Travel Rally.
The event, held Monday, May 9, at the Green Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill featured live music, costumed performers, a hot air balloon and adoptable animals, as the agency outlined new and returning events.
The annual event fell during National Travel and Tourism Week which this year had the theme of “The Future of Travel.” That theme was timely, as the travel and tourism industry continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Bowman, president and CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board told attendees that travel has a “pretty bright future” in Montgomery County.
“That’s because historically, tourism has been a huge, key positive economic driver in Montco, contributing more than $1.65 billion, and more than 25,000 jobs,” he said in a statement. “We know travel will continue to have a positive impact here. Travel allows us to emotionally connect with each other, which we need now more than ever.”
One of the new events announced during the rally is a first-ever Montco Jazz Fest, which will be incorporated in the organization’s returning Arts Montco Week, Sept. 16-25. The new festival will feature performances at iconic Montgomery County venues.
Arts Montco Week was a new — and successful — event in 2021, held to help encourage support of the county’s 200 arts and culture venues, which normally represent $100 million in positive economic impact for Montgomery County.
The Montco Jazz Fest isn’t the only new attraction planned for Montgomery County this year. The tourism board also announced the Valley Forge engagement of The American Revolution Show, which will be performing at Washington Memorial Chapel from June 18-26.
The 50-minute show features seven actors performing on a small platform — creating the “characters, scenery, and props with only their bodies and their voices,” according to information on the website for the touring group. The performers recreate the American fight for independence. Sponsored by the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, the shows will be free. Information about the performances will be added to the tourism board’s website.
Returning in July will be Crave Montco Month. Launched last summer for the first time, the four-week campaign highlights the county’s more than 1,850 restaurants and Montco Makers — breweries, wineries, and distilleries. The promotion will include social media influencer takeovers, pop-up events, and celebrity chef appearances throughout the 31 days.
Crave Monto Month and Arts Montco Week were launched last year to promote restaurants and the arts in the county — two segments of the tourism and travel industry most heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour will return in the fall. The golf tour includes 22 premiere locations around the country including Pebble Beach, and aligns Montgomery County with other top golf destinations, according to the agency.
A summer 2022 video media campaign from the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board will position Montgomery County as the “ultimate family destination,” according to the agency. The family-focused messaging will be targeted to markets in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Hartford, and Virginia — based on consumer research and trend monitoring, along with Valley Forge’s ongoing partnership with Zartico — a company that helps track visitor information.
Several other continuing Valley Forge Tourism initiatives were highlighted during the travel rally, including:
• Make It Main Street, an initiative committed to telling the stories of small, local business owners, BIPOC-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses, with digital marketing, TV, radio, out-of-home, web content, videos, social, and public relations.
• A $325,000 Meetings Campaign launch to further position Montgomery County as one of the industry-leading destinations for trade shows and corporate gatherings.
• Embark Montco, a travel program which highlights Montgomery County’s dog-friendly destinations.
For more information about events, hotels, restaurants and venues visit valleyforge.org.
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