KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – From Norristown to Pottstown, and everywhere in between, Montgomery County had a record year in 2019!
From an increase in festivals and sporting events, to increased attraction visitation, Montco saw growth across several areas, and officials are predicting a strong 2020 as well.
“At the VFTCB, we’re all about moving forward, so we were excited and optimistic to see such growth for Montgomery County tourism in 2019,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB). “We’re looking forward to keeping that momentum going in 2020 by keeping our promotions new, fresh, and different in order to support our membership, and bring even more overnight stays to Montco.”
Here are some more highlights from 2019:
- In 2019, the VFTCB learned that tourism spending in Montco reached $1.65 billion in 2018 – 5% growth over the prior year – and the travel and hospitality industries supported more than 4% of all jobs in the county, employing more than 20,000 people.
- The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks held its most events ever – 136 – with between 400-500,000 attendees, said President Tom Shires.
- Montgomery County’s hotel family grew to 80 hotels with 9,200 guest rooms in 2019. And, by the end of 2020, the county will have 85 hotels with close to 10,000 rooms.
- AmerisourceBergen, No. 10 on the 2019 Fortune 500, broke ground on its new global headquarters in the county becoming the fourth Fortune 500 company to call Montco home along with UGI, Toll Brothers, and UHS, according to Dave Zellers, Director of Commerce.
- The VFTCB’s social media following is now more than 150,000 (an 80% gain of more than 12,200 new followers), and video views grew to almost 4 million, a 40% increase over 2018 and a 305% increase from 2017.
- The brand-new 18,000-square-foot museum at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove engaged more than 10,000 people through events and activities at Mill Grove, that’s five times more than previous visitation, officials said.
- The VFTCB’s public relations outreach efforts resulted in more than 1,000 articles about Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA with 150 million reach.
- Norristown’s Wild Lights at Elmwood Park Zoo saw a more than 38% increase in attendance with more than 300,000 guests, and the event’s lights more than doubled with over 3 million. General zoo attendance also grew 10% over last year, according to Eric Donovan, Director of Operations.
- As a result of the Valley Forge Sports Team, Valley Forge & Montgomery County welcomed more than 100 events in 2019, producing $68 million in positive economic impact in the region.
- USA Climbing – Sport & Speed Youth National
- USA Ultimate Pro Championship
- MAX Field Hockey National High School Tournament
- American Cornhole League Championship
- PA Swag East Coast Flag Football Championship
- NXL Paintball – Valley Forge Open
- NXT Lacrosse Philly Girls Summer Showcase
- The Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-Mile Run raised a record-breaking $56,500 for tourism improvement projects at Valley Forge National Historical Park. To date, the race has contributed more than $450,000 to improve the visitor experience at the park.
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s Miniland Philadelphia took almost nine months to build with about 1.6 million bricks. Certain buildings have tens of thousands of pieces in them such as City Hall, which has more than 70,000 alone, according to Anthony Rossi, Marketing and Sales Executive.
- The Freedom from Hunger Food Drive collected a record 11,337 pounds of food to help feed the food insecure across Montgomery County.
- Macoby Run Golf Course set several records including: the most weekday league play/rounds, number of new players and restaurant patrons, restaurant sales, number of weddings at the new facility, and new tees being built, said Missy Peart. MontcoGolf.com also saw a 28% increase in pageviews, and the ability to book tee times was added to the website in 2019.
- King of Prussia Mall once again boasts 20 million visitors to its more than 450 retailers (65 international and 40-plus luxury), and restaurants, said Kathy Smith, Director of Marketing.
- The VFTCB’s membership has more than doubled in the last few years to more than 660, and the organization distributed more than 200,000 publications.
- Construction continued on the Valley Forge National Historical Park Visitor Center, a $14 million project that’s expected to be completed in 2020.
- Thanks to the Montgomery County Commissioners, and other county officials, Montco’s almost 100 miles of trails continues to expand.
- The VFTCB nonprofit and its staff collected a record 40 awards and recognition in 2019. The accolades add to a growing list of accomplishments for the VFTCB, including some of the noteworthy below:
- Manor College Community Leadership Service Award
- Main Line Chamber Nonprofit CEO of the Year
- 2019 Bronze Stella Award, Best CVB/DMO, Northeast Region
- Eventex Top 100 Most Influential People in the Event Industry, Megan Tomlinson
- Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Assocation Spirit of Hospitality Event of the Year, Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-Mile Run
- Philadelphia Business Journal Power 100, Mike Bowman
“These honors just speak to what a great place our organization is to work,” Bowman said. “We always take things to the next level, and that type of environment is attracting the kind of talented people who get recognized for their hard work, leadership, and innovative use of new technology.”
Staff members said that the recognitions were all a team effort of everyone working together to make Montgomery County even better.
Meanwhile, the organization is gearing up for some other big developments in 2020:
- The Hasbro NERF Challenge is coming from LA to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center March through May with 50,000-square-feet of interactive play, thousands of blasters, millions of darts, and more than 200,000 visitors.
- The completion of the $14 million renovation project and the reopening of the Valley Forge National Historical Park Visitor Center.
- The International Network of Golf Spring Conference the end of May into June at the Valley Forge Casino Resort.
- The 15th Annual Revolutionary 5-Mile Run at Valley Forge National Historical Park April 19 with a goal of raising more than 2019’s $56,500 to take 2020’s contribution to more than half a million dollars to date.
The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500+ member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services. The award-winning website links visitors, meeting planners, tour operators, and residents to a diverse portfolio of brands focused on reasons to visit the region.