Visitor Spending Generates $865 Million in Local Economic Impact, Supports 11,500 Jobs

(Bucks County, PA) Visit Bucks County (VBC), the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County, held its Annual Partner Meeting on Friday, October 19th, 2012 at PARX East in Bensalem. In the spirit of the event theme, the tourism office’s staff SHOWCASED the successes of Visit Bucks County, SHARED the key initiatives for 2013 and CELEBRATED the impact of the local tourism and hospitality industry.

According to Tourism Economics visitor spending in Bucks County means:
* $865 million in local economic impact
* $116 million in federal, state and local taxes
* 11,500 jobs supported

Key hotel indicators showcased that tourism is thriving in Bucks County. Hotel revenue is up 4.7%, RevPAR is up 4.2%, and ADR is up 2.3%.

With a team of nine full-time staff and more than 25 part-time Visitor Information Specialists, Visit Bucks County works to increase tourism to the county by effectively marketing the historical significance, diverse shops, restaurants, lodging and attractions.

With funding cuts and the rising costs of media, Visit Bucks County relies on co-op marketing with its partners to promote Bucks County to the key feeder market: New York and Northern New Jersey. This year the campaign involved four partners: Sesame Place, the Friends of Washington Crossing Historic Park, Peddler’s Village and the James A. Michener Art Museum.

The New York/Northern New Jersey campaign yielded more than 100 million impressions, including train cards, platform posters on Long Island Railroad, Metro North as well as advertisements on Staten Island buses, PATH trains, showbills, and digital elements.  A TripAdvisor and sponsorship were also added to the 2012 campaign.

As a true testament that Bucks County is the place to be, Bucks County received numerous accolades and recognitions this past year. A few select acknowledgments include:

* Bucks County chosen as "50 Picture-Perfect Fall Getaways" by Baltimore Sun
* New Hope chosen as one of "Most Romantic Small Towns in North America" by Smarter Travel
* Newtown chosen as "Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America" by Budget Travel
* Bucks County named as one of "30 Last Minute Summer Road Trips" by AAA NY Car & Travel

Visit Bucks County is a trailblazer in the social media world and recently received a SMITTY Award for “Best Single Social Media Promotion” by Travel + Leisure Magazine for the annual UNFORGETAWAYS social game.  With more than 35,000 followers on Visit Bucks County’s social media outlets, the tourism office is committed to sharing and interacting with the people who love Bucks County.

Public relations tactics are aligned with the advertising and social media initiatives to create a coordinated communications plan. More than 250 placements of earned media and guest blog posts were gained over the past twelve months.  In addition, the PR team guest blogs weekly for two local Bucks County websites.

In addition to communications and marketing initiatives, Visit Bucks County has a dedicated sales team selling to the business-to-business market. The sports market is an important economic driver to the region. This past year, Bucks County hosted more than 100 sports tournaments and events, including the 5th Annual Patriot Games Youth Lacrosse Showcase. This two-day event brought in more than 800 room nights and an estimated $1.5 million in economic impact.

The motorcoach market plays a vital role in creating economic impact for Bucks County. An American Bus Association study reported that Bucks County has 24% of the five-county travel trade market. Philadelphia has 42%. Over the past 12 months, Visit Bucks County pitched more than 1,000 tour operators and group leaders and added product to 17 catalogs.

Bucks County is an ideal destination for small to mid-size meetings and has hosted many conferences and small meetings over the past year. The Society for the Preservation of Old Mills recently held their Annual Conference in Bucks County with rave reviews.

They stated, “The 130 attendees from all across the United States found the accommodations and services top notch in Bucks County.”

Bucks County’s natural beauty and historic venues are a great influence on the thriving weddings market.  Each year, the tourism office hosts a Bridal Show at the Bucks County Visitor Center. This past year marked the 4th Annual Bucks County Bridal Show featuring 43 exhibitors, 600 attendees and 150 brides-to-be in attendance.

Additionally, Visit Bucks County manages four visitor centers throughout the county; Bensalem, New Hope, Peddler’s Village and Quakertown. Over the past year, the visitor centers have welcomed 59,000 visitors and 3,858 calls. This year, marks the 10th Anniversary of the Bucks County Visitor Center in Bensalem which also acts as the headquarters for Visit Bucks County’s staff.

Contact: Michelle Greco Falcone            Jessica Lawlor         
Communications Manager            Communications Coordinator
Visit Bucks County                Visit Bucks County
215 639 0300 x 231                 215 639 0300 x 227                

About Visit Bucks County
Visit Bucks County (VBC) is the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County. The mission of the VBC is to increase visitation in Bucks County by effectively marketing its heritage and its diverse sites and attractions. For more information on VBC activities call 1-800-836-BUCKS, visit or stop by the Bucks County Visitor Center located at 3207 Street Road in Bensalem (adjacent to the entrance to the PARX Casino). The Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is easily accessible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Route 1 and Interstate 95.