Discover Lehigh Valley Provides Update on the State of Tourism in the Region at Annual Meeting

Local tourism partners honored with annual awards.

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (October 30, 2015) – Discover Lehigh Valley hosted its annual meeting on Thursday, October 29 at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center. Over 115 attendees celebrated another year of success for tourism in Lehigh Valley.

The evening kicked off with a silent auction of 51 framed images from Discover Lehigh Valley’s Print of the Week series. Thanks to the generosity of tourism partners, Discover Lehigh Valley was about to raise funds in this auction to benefit the Lehigh Valley Visitor Education Fund.

A keynote presentation was delivered by Meridith Elliot Powell, where she challenged attendees of the event, “will you be driven by change, or will you drive it?”

Michael Stershic, President of Discover Lehigh Valley, touched on some of the highlights from the 2014 – 2015 fiscal year. A record number of hotel rooms were sold, revenues were at an all-time high, and Discover Lehigh Valley even took home a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for its DISHcover Lehigh Valley episode with Porters’ Pub.

In a recent ROI study completed with Northstar Destination Strategies, Discover Lehigh Valley found that 59 percent of those surveyed had visited Lehigh Valley four or more times in the last two years, and 45 percent had visited six or more times in the past two years. 79 percent of those surveyed noted that they would be very likely to make a return visit, compared to the national average of 62 percent. The return on Discover Lehigh Valley’s marketing investment is $18.38 for every budget dollar spent.

“As visitor numbers increase, so does the chance that a potential investor will see the opportunity to invest,” say Stershic. “The more people you touch, the more chances you have to make a positive impact. Greater visibility creates more opportunity. We cannot state more firmly that the economic development successes of today are coming from the visitors of yesterday.”

During her chairman’s report, Denise Maiatico encouraged attendees to see Lehigh Valley through a vistior’s eyes. “When was the last time you discovered something new about Lehigh Valley? Our best stories are yet to be told.”

During the evening’s events, three awards were presented to local tourism partners.

The Partnership Award recognizes an organization(s) with which Discover Lehigh Valley has had an especially productive partnership over the last fiscal year. The 2015 Partnership Award was presented to ArtsQuest, Lehigh Valley United and Lehigh Mining & Navigation for their success in the Soccerfest viewing parties.

The Zenith Award is presented to the organization that brings in the largest meeting to Lehigh Valley during the year. While this event is not technically a meeting, it has brought huge economic impact to the region. Since 2006, Laxfest has grown to two weekends totaling 311 teams, nearly 7,800 players and several thousand parents. The 2015 Zenith Award was presented to Ath-Ed Lacrosse for Laxfest 2015. John Gallucci accepted the award.

Lastly, the Tourism Award honors an organization that makes a significant investment in tourism infrastructure during the year. The 2015 Tourism Award was presented to the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority for the Hoover-Mason Trestle. Tony Hanna, executive director, accepted the award.

Also honored during the Annual Meeting were members of Discover Lehigh Valley’s Board of Directors, including Kurt Landes of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs who served as board chair from 2013 through 2015.


About Discover Lehigh Valley

Discover Lehigh Valley is the designated destination marketing organization (DMO) of Lehigh and Northampton counties. Its mission is to promote and develop Lehigh Valley as a leisure and business travel destination. Created in 1984, Discover Lehigh Valley assists in promoting regional tourism, an industry that generates $1.906 billion in annual revenue and accounts for more than 22,000 jobs in Lehigh Valley. For more information on Discover Lehigh Valley and its activities or to request a Lehigh Valley Official Visitors Guide, call (800) MEET-HERE, or visit the official tourism website of Lehigh Valley at DiscoverLehighValley.com.


Editor’s Note: Images from the evening’s events, including award recipients, are available via DropBox.

Media Contact:
Kaitie Burger