Philadelphia’s new tourism symposium is scheduled for Saturday, November 12 at the First Unitarian Church – Timesherald
PHILADELPHIA – To help improve the overall travel experience for visitors to the city, the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides (APT) is running a special program for the travel industry.
Philly Forward: A Tourism Symposium will be held Saturday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street.
Participation is limited to 70 people on the event and 100 on Zoom. Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis.
Marianne Ruane, vice president of APT and a certified tour guide since 2016, says the program is designed to kick-start tourism in Philadelphia post-Covid…and help create a better overall travel experience for tourists.
“We want people to realize all that Philadelphia has to offer and ensure that our own tourism industry far exceeds tourist expectations,” Ruane said.
Look forward, not back
Rather than focusing on past history as much of APT training usually does, she says, this symposium focuses on current issues, emerging trends and upcoming initiatives. “As Philadelphia emerges from COVID, we are looking for new ideas and new ways to attract and delight tourists.”
Speakers and panelists will discuss the state of Philadelphia today, plans for the 250th anniversary celebration in 2026, as well as what’s happening in arts, culture, food and more in Philadelphia in today’s rapidly changing.
The program will also take place in a building designed by famed Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, the only known architect to win the Medal of Honor. (Note: her name is pronounced “furnace”.)
Previously confirmed VIP speakers and panelists include: Angela Val, President and CEO of Visit Philly; Alan Greenberger, vice president of real estate and facilities, Drexel University; Joseph A. Forkin, president, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation; Peter Crimmins, arts and culture reporter WHYY; Michael Norris, executive director of Carpenters’ Hall; Danielle DiLeo Kim, executive director of Philadelphia 250; Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent, Independence National Historical Park; Leslie Obleschuk, Interpretation and Education Manager, Independence National Historical Park; Sandra Dungee Glenn, Founding Partner, The Growth Collective; Marilyn Johnson, “Philly Grub” blogger; and Vance Lehmkuhl, director of the American Vegan Center.
Costs: Full day: $50 for APT members, $60 for non-members; Half day: $30 for members, $35 for non-members; Zoom full day: $25.
COVID has reduced Philly’s tourism numbers
Until COVID hit, Philadelphia was on a 7-year winning streak with record attendance, attracting over 46 million visitors in 2019. APT wants to help hit those numbers again.
Founded in 2008, APT has been testing and certifying tour guides for basic knowledge of Philadelphia’s people, history and sites since 2011. To date, APT has certified 219 Philadelphia guides.
Honored by the city
In 2013, APT received a special citation from the City of Philadelphia for its efforts to improve the visitor experience in Philadelphia.
APT also produces its own 300-plus-page Philadelphia tour guide manual (available to the public) and hosts a series of lectures and trainings each year.
For more information and to register for the program, visit: https://phillyguides.org/event/philadelphia-challenges-today-hope-for-tomorrow/.