VALLEY FORGE -- The Southeastern Pennsylvania Travel Council is
promoting the culture of Philadelphia and the charm of its
This summer, the visitor bureaus of Valley Forge and
Philadelphia, along with those of Bucks, Chester and Delaware
counties, developed the Philadelphia and Its Countryside motorcoach
Although the five bureaus have collaborated for years, according
to a spokeswoman for the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors
Bureau, their focus has been the international market. The
2000-2001 season marks their expansion into the domestic
Ann Marie Gourley, director of tourism and sales for the Valley
Forge Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said the council has
received early praise.
"The initiative has been well recieved by tour operators who
find it easier to sell a diverse city/country product to their
clients than to sell either the city or countryside
"Tourists don't see county lines," said the spokeswoman for
Valley Forge. "It's a much better position to be in when we view
ourselves as a cohesive product instead of five separate counties
vying for the same tourists."
Although the tours highlight a number of famous Revolutionary
War sites, they are not only for history buffs.
Plans are being finalized for themed itineraries focusing on
arts and culture; religious sites; homes and gardens;
entertainment; African-American heritage, and soft adventure with
canoeing, kayaking and mule barge excursions.
The spokeswoman credited group operators with being able to
incorporate the region into larger packages.
"I know of one tour operator [that] packaged us with
Williamsburg, Va.," she said. "It makes sense for them if they're
riding through somewhere else to get to us."
A Philadelphia and Its Countryside brochure is being developed
that will showcase a four-night itinerary.
The council also joined with American Express Travel Related
Services to create a Web site designed for area businesses to
promote themselves and offer special promotions to American Express
According to the spokeswoman, the site, at www.northeastdestinations.com, is expected to be up in
October. They also will do mailings to cardholders in New York, New
Jersey, Boston and Philadelphia.