Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board Establishes New Award For Creativity and Innovation in Attracting Visitors

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The tourism authority of Montgomery County, Pa., welcomes nearly 300 representatives of the local hospitality industry for an afternoon of shared results, visionary status updates and future plans. The program included recognitions to members who had exhibited truly stellar creativity and execution in their event planning and tourism offerings.

Many of our member institutions were being inspired, catching our fire. They began reimagining their operations in new and engaging ways, expanding the ways we promote Montgomery County.

As part of its annual member luncheon, November 21, 2014, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) announces a new recognition program. The award celebrates area attractions, historical sites, hotels, restaurants, museums, galleries, event holders and other businesses that burnish the reputation of Montgomery County, Pa., as a visitor destination.

The initiative was born of the new direction the organization took throughout 2014.

“Based on feedback from our Board of Directors, our high-profile stakeholders and our membership, our organization reinvented itself this past year,” says VFTCB President Bill Fitzgerald. “We are riding the crest of that momentum, being propelled onward with a new outlook, a new mission statement, a new logo, a new website — even a new name.”

He continues: “Our rally cry became ‘Make It Montco,’ which evolved into our social media tag for collecting shared experiences from locals and visitors alike.

“What we found is that many of our member institutions were similarly being inspired, catching our fire. They began reimagining their operations in new and engaging ways, expanding the ways we promote Montgomery County.

“Our new award program recognizes those new programs, experiences and accommodation and dining options. It is our means of celebrating our visionaries. We have named them the Stellar Awards, reflecting not only spectacular performance from our members but also their importance in our new brand, evidenced by the stars in our logo,” Fitzgerald concludes.

The VFTCB membership was polled for nominees, with the criteria being cited as follows:

  •     Member creativity
  •     Pioneering initiatives
  •     Visionary planning
  •     Ground-breaking efforts
  •     Diligent execution

The following members were chosen as the recipients of this first-ever award:

  •     Valley Forge National Historical Park, for its innovative collaboration with the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College. Faculty and student pastry chefs were tapped by the Park staff for a custom-designed birthday cake for George Washington’s Presidents Day celebration this past February.
  •     Elmwood Park Zoo for its consistent forward-thinking programming to not only educate visitors but to engage them in unexpected and vibrant ways. Among many noteworthy additions to the zoo is Treetop Adventure Park, which brought ziplining to this 90-year-old Norristown attraction.
  •     The Montgomery Bar Association’s Courting Art Program, a beautification project that solicits paintings and sketches from local senior citizens. The art serves a promotional purpose, highlighting Montgomery County sites, as well as making for a welcoming and enticing visitor experience within Norristown Courthouse, the county seat.

Fitzgerald summarizes: “We at the VFTCB look forward to the Stellar Awards becoming a time-honored tradition in recognizing our members. We hope it inspires the county’s tourism industry to greater heights and continues to broaden our appeal to visitors from all over.”

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Dan Weckerly
Visit Valley Forge
since: 05/2009
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