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Industry Briefs

Established Tourism Industry Executive to Lead Nationally Recognized Destination Marketing Organization

Following an extensive national search, the Board of Directors of VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced recently that Angela Val has been selected to lead the organization and its talented staff as its new president and CEO beginning June 27, 2022. Val will spearhead the economic engine for Philadelphia's tourism industry, which supports local businesses, creates jobs, generates taxes and ultimately enhances residents' quality of life. This work is even more critical as Philadelphia continues its recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, bringing travel and tourism to a halt in 2020.

A recognized trailblazer within Philadelphia's tourism and hospitality industry, Val brings more than two decades of destination marketing experience to VISIT PHILADELPHIA, playing an impactful role in positioning and elevating Philadelphia as a desired tourism destination among regional, national and international audiences. Distinctly, Val has played important roles in every major event the City of Philadelphia has hosted since 2000, including the Republican National Convention (RNC), 2015 World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit, 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) and 2017 NFL Draft.

"After a comprehensive executive search, Angela became the clear choice for the type of leader who will strategically drive the organization and city to new heights," said Manuel N. Stamatakis, chair of VISIT PHILADELPHIA's Board of Directors. "With a passion for Philadelphia and a proven record rooted in collaboration, partnership and consensus-building, we are confident Angela's return to VISIT PHILADELPHIA will accelerate the city forward as travel and tourism return in full force."

As Stamatakis notes, this role is a homecoming for Val, who spent 17 years at the beginning of her career with VISIT PHILADELPHIA, contributing to its growth and ultimately concluding her first tenure with the organization in 2016 as Chief External Affairs Officer. From there, she served as Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the DNC and then Chief Administration Officer at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), where she oversaw government and external affairs while managing the day-to-day operations until June 2021.

Val is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Tempest, an integrated marketing agency helping Destination Organizations and Convention and Visitors Bureaus across the country strengthen their local communities. She has also recently concluded her role as the Executive Director of Ready. Set. Philly!, a yearlong collaborative initiative with the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to reopen and relaunch the city's economy following the pandemic.

"When I arrived in Philadelphia 31 years ago as an undergraduate at Drexel University, I would have never imagined this city's impact on me and my career," said Val. "It is my chosen home, and I am thrilled to return to VISIT PHILADELPHIA as president and CEO so I can give back to a city and organization that has given me so much. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I look forward to working with our partners to build back the tourism industry, reinvigorate the economy and restore the vibrancy of Philadelphia, which is so essential to attracting leisure travelers."

Val succeeds the late Jeff Guaracino, VISIT PHILADELPHIA's former president and CEO, who passed away in December 2021. Guaracino, a longtime colleague of Val's, was known for forging innovative and creative partnerships. Under his leadership, VISIT PHILADELPHIA continued driving leisure tourism throughout the pandemic notably through omni-channel marketing efforts including Philly Live Weekends, a collaboration with NBC Philadelphia; a Black- and Brown owned business initiative, "Shop Black Business Friday;" and Pack Light. Plan Big for Philly, the TV campaign marking the phased reopening of the region.

"With her deep knowledge of the tourism industry and extensive experience promoting our great city, Angela Val is a terrific choice to succeed Jeff Guaracino. I know she will continue to build upon his legacy of innovation and inclusiveness," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "Having worked closely with Angela in her roles at the 2016 DNC Host Committee, PHLCVB and Ready. Set. Philly!, I've seen her passion for Philadelphia firsthand. I'm confident her commitment to collaboration and ability to develop strategic initiatives will further position Philadelphia for a strong tourism rebound after the pandemic and create new and exciting opportunities."

Val's hiring reflects the organization's continued commitment to recruiting the best talent and being welcoming to all. VISIT PHILADELPHIA employs the same values-based processes in staff hiring as it does with its Board of Directors selection, vendor, advertising decisions and more-ensuring a reflection of Philadelphia itself. The organization remains well-positioned to continue achieving its mission: building Greater Philadelphia's image, driving visitation and boosting the economy.

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, and, 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. 6th & Market Streets, (800) 537-7676.