Youth sports spurs Bucks tourism [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
(Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 18--Youth sports tournaments have become the fastest growing sector of Bucks County's tourism industry, the county's tourism promotion agency announced Friday at its annual meeting.
For instance, the Pony National Softball Championships were held on fields throughout Lower Bucks in July, attracting more than 10,000 people who booked more that 2,000 hotel rooms. The county also hosted the Patriot Games, a boys' lacrosse tournament, which drew the same amount of people.
"Sometimes the biggest problem we have is getting enough fields," said Jerry Lepping, executive director of the Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau.
Lepping said those tournaments, among others, made up for the dip in visitors to places such as Sesame Place amusement park. The dip was caused, Lepping said, by the summer's many rainy days.
Weddings and conferences still provided a large chunk of the more than $800 million tourism brings in each year. That generates about $117 million in federal, state and local taxes each year and produces more than 11,000 jobs.
Paul Bencivengo, marketing and communications director for Visit Bucks County, said Bucks is increasingly promoting itself through social media such as Facebook and Instagram, encouraging visitors to upload photos of their trips. The county also is participating in the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation's campaign to attract more gay tourists: "Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay."
"We are competing for global dollars because we have a global asset in Bucks County," said Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, the meeting's keynote speaker. "One of the things that often gets lost is how vital tourism dollars are to a particular area."
Lepping, of the conference and visitors bureau, said the next big tourism draw in the county will be an exhibit at the Michener Museum in Doylestown dedicated to Grace Kelly.
"That's going to be bananas," he said.
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