BUCKS COUNTY >> As part of Visit Bucks County (VBC’s) weeklong celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week, the tourism office hosted a virtual meeting with the Bucks County Commissioners to celebrate this year’s theme, the POWER OF TRAVEL.

The tourism office recognized five individuals and organizations with National Travel & Tourism Week awards. Honorees were nominated by their peers in the local hospitality industry. Commissioners Diane Marseglia and Gene DiGirolamo presented the awards.

Commissioner Robert J. Harvie spoke about some of the initiatives the County was able to administer and facilitate as support for the hospitality industry, including Bucks Back to Work, the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) grant and CARES Act funding – the largest economic relief package in the nation’s history.

“We are happy to join Visit Bucks County in proclaiming May 2 – 8 as National Travel & Tourism Week in Bucks County,” said Marseglia, “as well as to celebrate individuals in the hospitality industry that went above and beyond during the pandemic to support the business they work at, as well as the customers they serve.”

The 2021 Visit Bucks County Travel & Tourism Week Award honorees:

Innovative Business Award: Moss Mill Brewing Company

This award honors a business/organization who implemented new and creative ways to continue to serve customers during the pandemic.

Guest Excellence Award: MaryLou Henderson; Continental Tavern

This award goes to a frontline staff member with a positive attitude who is willing to go the extra mile to help visitors and interact with customers on a daily basis.

Hospitality Leadership Award: Sherry Jackson; Candlewood Suites Bensalem-Philadelphia

This award honors an individual who exemplifies all the qualities of a good manager while directing and motivating his or her staff, ultimately increasing visitation to Bucks County.

Rising Star Award: Kelly Doody, Holiday Inn Express Philadelphia NE-Bensalem

This award is presented to a young professional aspiring to a long career in the tourism/hospitality industry.

Dedicated Partner Award: Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA)

This award honors an entity that not only helps to bring more visitors to Bucks County, but also has made a difference through their dedication to working with the tourism office.

Visit Bucks County Board Chair Frank Lyons opened the program by sharing key tourism statistics.

“Bucks County fared much better than many destinations in 2020 due to the open, countryside location. Hotel occupancy fell 26 percent last year, but the industry came together and leaned on each other to get where we are today,” Lyons said, “As vaccine distribution continues, we are seeing more positive consumer sentiment and are optimistic Bucks County will continue on an upward path to tourism recovery.”

Nationally, Destination Analysts data shows that many are starting to plan for vacation again, with 88 percent of Americans planning some type of leisure travel in the coming months.

President/COO of Visit Bucks County, Paul Bencivengo, shared current hotel occupancy charts and research results on consumer travel sentiment. Three weekends in April had Bucks County hotels 70 percent occupied on Friday and 80 percent occupied on Saturday. During the week, occupancy is hovering at 60 percent, similar to 2019 mid-week occupancy levels.

As demand for Bucks County travel information surpasses 2019 levels, so is website traffic. New users to VisitBucksCounty.com are currently up 68 percent and pageviews are up 22 percent from Q1 in 2019.

“We are welcoming visitors to plan outdoor adventure, family-friendly getaways, romantic escapes and to visit our parks, small towns and attractions,” Bencivengo stated about VBC’s current marketing campaign.

Bencivengo continued, “Later this month, we will shift our campaign to Summer in Bucks County with new visuals on billboards, digital ads and television commercials attracting tourists to plan vacations to our area. All of these promotions encourage travelers to stay in Bucks County at our unique and accommodating hotels, bed & breakfasts and country inns.”

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