As part of May’s National Travel and Tourism Week, Paul Bencivengo, President and COO of Visit Bucks County presented his organization’s update. He and the Bucks County Board of Commissioners spoke of the ongoing efforts to reignite the local hospitality industry.
The presentation was streamed owing to continued caution about large gatherings during the pandemic. In fact, COVID-19 was an underlying theme throughout the recap, much like it was for 2020’s National Travel and Tourism Week.
One difference between last year and this is that travel to and around Bucks County seems to be improving.
For one, Bencivengo cited recent upticks in hotel occupancies.
“Bucks County’s highest year-over-year occupancy decrease was a 45 percent drop in May 2020,” Bencivengo said. “In March 2021, it climbed back to just over 60 percent. During April, we saw weekends hitting 75-80 percent.”
Driving some of those visitors were events like micro-weddings.
Bucks County’s oft-cited beautiful outdoor settings and array of quaint B&Bs — always a draw — continued to attract brides, grooms and their families.
With large-style ceremonies scaled back, smaller wedding parties would book an entire inn, room by room, floor by floor. Their event proceeded while guests remained safely in their preestablished, COVID-free pods.
Regardless of the occasional high points, however, navigating the tough days required vision and agility.
At the Travel and Tourism Week meeting, Bencivengo thanked his staff for working through the difficulties. He also commended the support of his board of directors, the Commissioners, local legislatures, colleagues in nearby tourism organizations and the U.S. Travel Association.
Attracting visitors to Bucks County is a crucial economic driver, bringing a sense of urgency to the effort to educate the public that a weekend here can be not only engaging and beautiful but also safe.
In 2019, Bucks County welcomed 8.29 million visitors. Those vacationers spent $1.1 billion and supported nearly 30,000 hospitality employees.
Visit Bucks County’s virtual celebration of Travel and Tourism Week also included awards. The organization recognized the following standouts in the hospitality field over the past year.
- Innovative Business Award: Moss Mill Brewing Company
- Guest Excellence Award: MaryLou Henderson; Continental Tavern
- Hospitality Leadership Award: Sherry Jackson; Candlewood Suites Bensalem-Philadelphia
- Rising Star Award: Kelly Doody, Holiday Inn Express Philadelphia NE-Bensalem
- Dedicated Partner Award: Pennsylvania Restaurant Lodging Association (PRLA)
More information on what to see, do and experience in Bucks County this spring and summer — including several new events and attractions — is online.