Valley Forge, PA-The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau and Valley Forge National Historical Park announced today an innovative public-private partnership through which the organizations will work more closely together than ever before to strengthen the destination's and the Park's ability to attract and better serve more visitors.
A "Cooperative Agreement" was signed today by Bureau board Chairman Andrew S. Tod and Park Superintendent Michael Caldwell in conjunction with the bureau's National Tourism Week celebration.
"Valley Forge is recognized worldwide as an icon of the American Revolution, but in an era of continually declining Federal funding of our National Parks, it's been unable to promote itself, as a business would, to bring more visitors to experience it," said Bureau President Paul R. Decker. "This initiative helps fill that void."
Under the agreement, a "Director of Cooperative Sales and Marketing" management position was established on the Bureau's payroll, dedicated to marketing the Park and its programs but, more so, according to Decker, enhancing the Bureau's sales efforts to track, up-sell and enhance the visitor experience for motor coach tour groups at the Park.
"This close an interaction between a convention and visitors bureau and national park is unique within the National Park Service, and our formal cooperative agreement is the first of its kind in the nation.," said Caldwell. "I'm confident we've created a win-win-win situation for the Park, the Bureau and, most important, the area's visitors."
In addition to the agreement's marketing aspects, it calls for the Bureau to oversee streamlined Welcome Center visitor operations and the volunteer program, freeing up rangers to provide more interpretive programming throughout the Park.
Ann Marie Maher, the Bureau's Director of Tourism Sales for seven years, was appointed to the newly created, Park-based position, and will serve as liaison between the Park and the Bureau.
Visitors to Montgomery County spend more than $1.4 billion each year, supporting 20,300 hospitality industry employees with a payroll of $607 million. National Tourism Week (May 14-20) celebrates the United States' second largest industry
The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ltd. is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that aggressively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Bureau's web site (www.valleyforge.org) serves visitors, residents, meeting planners and tour operators.