“Philly Forward: A Tourism Symposium” — Press Release

News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Murphy:
Cell: 610-506-3024

New Philly Tourism Symposium set for
Saturday, Nov. 12 at First Unitarian Church

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 1, 2022 – To help improve visitors’ overall travel experience in the city, the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides (APT) is holding a special travel industry program. “Philly Forward: A Tourism Symposium” takes place Saturday, November 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street.

Attendance is limited to 70 people at 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 jump-start Philadelphia tourism after Covid … and help create a better overall travel experience for tourists.

“We want people to realize all that Philadelphia has to offer, and make sure our own tourist industry is far exceeding tourist expectations,” Ruane says.

Looking forward, not backward

Rather than focus on past history as much of APT’s training usually does, she says, this symposium concentrates on current issues, new trends and upcoming initiatives. “As Philadelphia comes out of COVID, we’re looking at new ideas and new ways to attract and delight tourists.”

Speakers and panelists will discuss the state of Philadelphia today, plans for the nation’s 250th birthday celebrations, plus what’s happening in arts, culture, food, and more in today’s fast-changing Philadelphia.

The program will take place in a building designed by famed Philly architect Frank Furness, the only architect known to have won the Medal of Honor. (Note: His name is pronounced “furnace.”)

VIP Speakers and panelists already confirmed include:

Confirmed speakers are Angela ValPresident and CEO of Visit Philly; Alan Greenberger, Vice President of Real Estate & Facilities at Drexel University; Joseph A. Forkin, President of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation; Sandra Dungee Glenn, Founding Partner, The Growth Collective; Peter Crimmins, WHYY Arts and Culture Reporter; Michael NorrisExecutive Director of Carpenters’ Hall; Rep. Jared G. Solomon, 202nd District/ Philadelphia County; Danielle DiLeo KimExecutive Director of Philadelphia 250; Cynthia MacLeodSuperintendent, Independence National Historical Park; Leslie Obleschuk, Head of Interpretation and Education, Independence National Historical Park; Marilyn JohnsonFounder of Philly Grub; and Vance Lehmkuhl, Director of the American Vegan Center. More to come!

Costs: Full day: $50 for APT members, $60 for non-members; Half day: $30 for members, $35 for non-members; Full-day Zoom: $25 for members, $30 for non-members.

COVID slashed Philly’s tourism numbers

Until COVID hit, Philadelphia was on a 7-year winning streak of record-breaking attendance, attracting more than 46 million visitors in 2019. APT wants to help reach those numbers again.

Founded in 2008, APT has been testing and certifying tour guides for basic knowledge of Philadelphia 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 in enhancing the visitor experience in Philadelphia.

APT also produces its own 300-plus page Philadelphia Tour Guides Handbook (available to the public) and holds a lecture and training series each year.

For more info and to register for the program, visit: