HAUT MERION — The VAlley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrated tourism in Montgomery County this week at its sixth annual travel rally.
The event, held Monday, May 9 at Green Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, featured live music, costumed performers, a hot air balloon and adoptable animals, as the agency described the new and recurring.
The annual event took place during National Travel and Tourism Week which this year was themed “The Future of Travel”. This 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 and Conventions Council, told attendees that travel has a “pretty bright future” in Montgomery County.
“That’s because historically, tourism has been a huge positive economic driver in Montco, contributing over $1.65 billion and over 25,000 jobs,” he said in a statement. “We know that 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 at the rally is the first-ever Montco Jazz Fest, which will be incorporated into the organization’s returning Montco Arts Week, September 16-25. The new festival will feature performances at iconic venues across Montgomery County.
Arts Montco Week was a new — and successful — event in 2021, organized to help encourage support for 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 tourist board also announced Valley Forge’s engagement with The American Revolution Show, which will perform at the Washington Memorial Chapel from June 18-26.
The 50-minute show features seven actors performing on a small platform – creating “the characters, sets and props with just their bodies and voices,” according to information on the tour group’s website. Performers recreate the American struggle for independence. Sponsored by the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board, the shows will be free. Information about the shows will be added to the tourist office website.
The return in July will be the month of Crave Montco. Launched last summer for the first time, the four-week campaign spotlights more than 1,850 restaurants and Montco Makers across the county – breweries, wineries and distilleries. The promotion will feature 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 hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the Advocates Professional Golf Association tour will be back in the fall. The golf tour includes 22 premier venues across the country, including Pebble Beach, and aligns Montgomery County with other premier golf destinations, according to the agency.
A summer 2022 video media campaign by the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board will position Montgomery County as the “preeminent family destination,” according to the agency. 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, as well as Valley Forge’s ongoing partnership with Zartico – a company that helps track visitor information.
Several other ongoing Valley Forge Tourism initiatives were highlighted during the tourism rally, including:
• Make It Main Street, an initiative committed to telling the stories of local small business owners, BIPOC-owned businesses, women-owned businesses and LGBTQ+-owned businesses, with digital marketing, television , radio, outdoor advertising, web content, videos, social and public relations.
• Launched a $325,000 meetings campaign to further position Montgomery County as one of the industry’s top destinations for trade shows and corporate gatherings.
• Embark Montco, a travel program that highlights dog-friendly destinations in Montgomery County.
For more information on events, hotels, restaurants and venues, visit valleyforge.org.