Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board goes global to attract visitors to Montco

To attract more visitors to Montgomery County, sometimes the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board must first travel overseas. Mike Bowan, left, and Marc Kaminetsky pause in front of the VFTCB display.

To attract more visitors to Montgomery County, sometimes the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board must first travel overseas.

VFTCB President and CEO, Mike Bowman, and Director of Sports, Tourism, and Convention Sales, Marc Kaminetsky, attended the World Travel Market London last week to help bring more visitors to Montgomery County, writes Rachel Riley for Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. 

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Now in its 37th year, the World Travel Market London is the leading global event for the travel industry, generating 3.2 billion in business contracts between attendees. Over three days, more than 51,000 travel professionals, journalists and influencers, come together to network with 5,000 exhibiting destinations and technology companies.

The show is one of more than 20 international programs, and 50 trade shows, that the VFTCB sales team attends each year to help generate 28% more business, said Kaminetsky.

And, the momentum just keeps growing, Bowman added.

“Montgomery County has an incredible presence at these shows because we honestly have more than any other county, or surrounding destination, when it comes to attracting international customers,” said Bowman. “International visitors love Montco.”

During one of the World Travel Market presentations, Kaminetsky said it was mentioned that 85% of visitors to the United States from the United Kingdom shop during their trip, and enjoy the tax-free shipping on clothes and shoes.

“They want the King of Prussia Mall, the Philadelphia Premium Outlets, the King of Prussia Town Center, and our small towns,” said Bowman. “Visitors from the United Kingdom, as well as Asia, both love our 54 public and private golf courses because they’re just so different with 300,000 yards to play and some of the most historic and top-ranked in the country.”

Valley Forge National Historical Park also ranked 3rd on the list of travelers’ favorite things to do in the area, Kaminetsky said.

“They really admire and respect our history,” said Bowman. “When I’m at shows, it always amazes me how many people come up to me from the United Kingdom and Germany, and they know Valley Forge Park and they want to go there.”

That combined with almost 100 miles of trails, more than 8,000 rooms, and 200 arts and culture venues for events, proves for an endless list of amenities, Bowman said.

Plus, with air service provided by American Airlines, British Airways, Icelandair, and Air Lingus (coming in 2018) at the Philadelphia International Airport, the Montgomery County region is an ideal destination for European travelers and beyond, said Kaminetsky.

The VFTCB’s participation was in partnership with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of the Countryside of Philadelphia, a collaboration between the VFTCB, and Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Kaminetsky and Bowman met with tour operators, travel agencies, OTAs, airlines, and companies like Expedia to learn about travel trends and innovations. VFTCB members Simon Shopping and LEGOLAND were also represented.

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