, the county’s official tourism promotion agency, celebrated National Tourism Day on May 8 by giving away awards and money.
Tourism officials and business partners met at the Bucks County Visitor Center on Street Road near in Bensalem. The event was one of 75 similar ones nationwide celebrating the industry for Tourism Day.
Visit Bucks Executive Director Jerry Lepping noted that “tourism in Bucks County supports 11,000 jobs and generates $814 million in the local economy.”
In honor of National Tourism Day, Lepping spoke of the group’s participation in a national tourism effort and its specific marketing campaign in New York and North Jersey promoting tourism in Bucks County.
Celebrating the special occasion, the group announced the winners of its first annual National Travel & Tourism Week Awards. Winners included:
- Hospitality Leadership Award: Olga Rose Lopez, of 1870 Wedgwood Collection of Historic Inns
- Guest Service Excellence Award: Michael Joyce, of Sesame Place
- Rising Star Award: Christy Gallagher, of the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
- Community Service Award: Skip’s Candies
- Dedicated Partner Award: Tabitha Dardes, of Pennsbury Manor
Lepping also announced $140,000 in awards through the 2012 Tourism Grant Program. According to Lepping, the program was instituted in 2008 with support of the Bucks County Commissioners to assist in the development and enhancement of non-profit tourism product and marketing.
He noted that the current year's awards put the four-year total at more than $1.2 million.
Over the years, the grant program has contributed to re-designing websites, producing promotional videos, capital improvements and much more, Lepping said.
Below is a list of the spring 2012 grant recipients:
Actors Net of Bucks County
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve
Bristol Borough Business Association
Bristol Cultural Historical Foundation
Bucks County Children's Museum
Bucks County Choral Society
Bucks County Extension
Bucks County Historical Society-Mercer Museum
Friends of Washington Crossing
James A Michener Art Museum
Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum
New Hope Celebrates
New Hope Chamber of Commerce
Newtown Chamber Orchestra
Pearl S Buck House
Mission Center and Shrine
Tinicum Civic Association
Town and County Players
Warwick Township Historical Society
In a recent opinion piece, Lepping wrote discussed the importance of tourism in Bucks County.
“So, as you set out on your day today in beautiful Bucks County, whether you work or visit one of our outstanding restaurants, wineries, hotels, B&Bs or attractions, or are meeting with corporate leaders for a business meeting, remember each and every one of us has moments in our day to make amazing first and last impressions,” he noted.
“Please take this week to experience and appreciate your own backyard, and do something great to provide a visitor, customer, co-worker or even a neighbor, with a special experience. And remember that we are all in the travel industry together.”