Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Feb 15 2017

Visit Philadelphia Announces Three New Staff Appointments

New Hires & A Promotion Focus On Strategic Alliances, Hotel Relations & Visitor Appeal

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® welcomed two new staffers and promoted another within the organization this month, adding Kara Callahan as vice president of advertising and strategic alliances, Laura Burkhardt as vice president of visitor appeal, and elevating Jim Werner to vice president of hotel relations and tourism development.

“We’re happy to welcome Kara and Laura and to promote Jim, a long-time member of our team,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “We’re coming off a banner year for hospitality in 2016, and the new leadership positions will strengthen our talented team by helping us to fulfill our mission, reach our goals and maintain the success of leisure tourism in our region.”

Kara Callahan, Vice President of Advertising and Strategic Alliances:
As the vice president of advertising and strategic alliances, Kara Callahan oversees VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s advertising and partnership programs. She will also work to expand the reach around brand campaigns like With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® while leading the company’s integrated marketing programs, design services and video production.

Callahan comes to VISIT PHILADELPHIA from The Franklin Institute, where she spent six years leading marketing strategy and promotional partnership efforts. Callahan has received two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards and a nomination for her work on the museum’s “80 Years Of Discovery” commercial spot and other video promotion of exhibitions such as One Day In Pompeii and Gengis Khan: Bring The Legend To Life. This seasoned marketer also spent eight years as the national marketing director with Madison Square Garden Entertainment for the national tour of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Callahan earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware and, in 2016, completed Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business’ Leading for Change Fellowship, a leadership development program for the city’s leaders in the public sector.
 

Laura Burkhardt, Vice President of Visitor Appeal:
As the vice president of visitor appeal, a new role at VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Laura Burkhardt leads the company’s strategic relationships with restaurants, shops, museums and attractions throughout the five-county area to ensure a high-quality experience for Philadelphia’s 41 million domestic visitors each year. She also oversees company-wide photography initiatives, helping communications, web, advertising and social media efforts to tell compelling visual stories for Philadelphia.

Before Burkhardt joined the VISIT PHILADELPHIA team, this experienced travel professional worked as the publisher of Where Philadelphia magazine since 2005 and brings more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector.

Jim Werner, Vice President of Hotel Relations and Tourism Development:
Previously VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s senior director of industry relations, Jim Werner now serves as the vice president of hotel relations and tourism development. In this role, Werner leads the expansion of new overnight leisure initiatives and manages the company’s relationships with the hotel, hospitality and lodging community, which is set to see a flurry of development over the next couple years. By July 2018, Center City Philadelphia is projected to add 1,795 new rooms—a 16.1% increase in supply over the end of last year (source: CBRE Hotels).

Since 2015, Werner has taught as an adjunct professor at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, where he teaches courses in destination management/marketing and destination planning and development.

A native of Philadelphia, Werner joined the VISIT PHILADELPHIA staff in 2005 as the partnership and promotion manager. A graduate of LaSalle University, he began his career in the public sector in 2002 as a communications manager for the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
 

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Related Releases

Jun 20 2017

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Philly In Top Three On Best Places To Visit In The USA List

City Also Lands On Best Historic Destinations List

U.S. News & World Report today released its Best Rankings, and Philadelphia ranked #2 on two key travel lists: Best Places to Visit in the USA and Best Historic Destinations in the USA—great timing as travelers prepare to make their summer travel plans. The rankings are based on an analysis of expert and consumer opinions.

The Best Places to Visit in the USA list features New York City, Philadelphia and Honolulu in the top three spots, while the Best Historic Destinations list includes New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco highest in its ranking.

“Everyone should have Philadelphia, New

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Jun 14 2017

Summer Brings Seasonal Perks For The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts, Plus Indego & PHLASH Passes Return

The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the summer with seasonal perks, plus its ever-valuable and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight, the summer edition runs from June 16 to September 4, 2017.

For stays beginning June 16, guests receive: free hotel parking; passes for Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; tickets for the PHLASH downtown loop, stopping at more than 20 Philly attractions; $20 for use at any of Chef Jose Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants; $20 toward dinner at the Moshulu, a restaurant within a Tall Ship permanently docked at Penn’s Landing; and roller

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May 24 2017

2016 Shows Record Visitation Again To Greater Philadelphia

Five-County Region Welcomed 42 Million Visitors Last Year

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced yesterday that Greater Philadelphia—that’s Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties—welcomed 42 million domestic visitors in 2016. This marks the seventh consecutive year for record visitation and a 2.4% increase over 2015. Of those 42 million visitors, 37 million (88%) visited for a leisure purpose. More details appear in VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s annual report, downloadable at visitphilly.com/annualreport.

“Since 1997, Philadelphia has become a better destination—with investments in the region’s attractions, art, history, culture and parks—all of which have been amplified by consistent marketing,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “Today, Philadelphia is a

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May 3 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Marks National Travel & Tourism Week

New Video Welcomes All People To Visit With Love

To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), taking place from May 7-13, 2017, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today released a video highlighting the people who welcome visitors to Philadelphia every day. Entitled the “Faces of Travel,” the video supports the U.S. Travel Association’s NTTW 2017 theme and invites travelers to Philadelphia. It echoes VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s 20-year tradition of extending inviting and love-filled messages to potential visitors. The video is viewable on YouTube.

“Philadelphia is the City—and region—of Brotherly Love, and our campaigns have long had a welcoming message of love and inclusion to reflect that,” said Meryl Levitz, president

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Mar 17 2017

The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Springs Into A New Season

Indeg & PHLASH Bus Passes Return To The Popular Package That Always Includes Free Hotel Parking

This spring, the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package includes not only its always-offered-and-convenient free hotel parking, but extra perks that make it easier for visitors to get around once they arrive too. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight for stays beginning on March 20, 2017, the spring edition of the package comes with free passes for Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; free tickets for the PHLASH downtown loop, which stops at more than 20 Philly attractions; credit toward an Uber ride and $50 in SugarHouse Casino perks.

“There’s nothing quite like spring in Philadelphia,” said Meryl Levitz, president and

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Mar 10 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Debuts 360-Degree Photo, Video & Virtual Reality Experience

New Digital Content Showcases Philadelphia Before Visitors Arrive

Philadelphia fans and potential visitors can now see the city in a new way before they arrive thanks to VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s 360-degree photography and video with virtual-reality capabilities. Visitors to visitphilly.com/virtual-tour will be able to explore 25 panoramic, 360-degree photos; watch a three-minute, 360-degree video; and view that video in virtual reality (VR)—as an immersive tour on a VR headset.

“Every day we give online visitors compelling reasons to plan a trip to Philadelphia, and we believe this new view of the city will give the 20 million people who use visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com each year even more reasons to

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Jan 19 2017

Kimpton Hotel Manager Joins VISIT PHILADELPHIA Team

James Adamson Is The Most Recent Addition To The Company's Board Of Directors

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced today that it has welcomed James Adamson, general manager of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, to its board.

“We are happy that James has joined our board,” said Manuel Stamatakis, VISIT PHILADELPHIA board chairman. “He has many years of hotel management experience, and we look forward to tapping into his knowledge base as we develop marketing plans and strategies for VISIT PHILADELPHIA moving forward.”

For 14 years now, Adamson has worked for Kimpton properties, beginning in 2003 when he served as a guest service agent at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City. He quickly

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Jan 17 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Reports A Record For 2016 Leisure Tourism & Announces Plans For 2017

Philadelphia's Tourism Marketing Group's Success In 2016 And Stories For 2017

At today’s VISIT PHILADELPHIA® New Year’s Breakfast, the destination marketing organization released record 2016 hotel numbers for Center City Philadelphia and announced upcoming marketing initiatives, including a new virtual-reality and 360-degree video and photo experience on visitphilly.com; new With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® ads for winter; year two for Philadelphia’s Historic District campaign; and a perks-packed, limited-time-only Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package.

2016: A Record Year:
In 2016, Center City Philadelphia hotels are projected to have hit:

  • Record occupancy – 78%
    –3.2 million hotel room nights
  • Record leisure room nights – 1 million for the first time
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Jan 11 2017

Biggest, Best-Ever Version Of The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Now Available

Package Includes Philadelphia Auto Show Tickets For Limited Time Only

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announces a new perk for the in-demand Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Winter Getaway. Guests who book the package and stay at any of 38 Philadelphia hotels between January 28 and February 5, 2017 receive the bonuses listed below—plus two tickets to the Philadelphia Auto Show. This package, typically valued up to $228, jumps up to a $256 value with the Auto Show tickets. The standard winter package, available until March 19, 2017, includes:

  • Free hotel parking
  • Two untimed tickets to Jurassic World: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute
  • Admission and ice skate rentals for two at
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