All seven Philadelphia mayoral candidates recently met to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the travel and tourism industry.

The candidates met during the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Hospitality and Tourism, hosted by five major tourism industry organizations at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia. The organizations were the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, the Independence Visitor Center Corporation, the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and Visit Philadelphia.

There are 65,000 leisure and hospitality jobs in Philadelphia. According to research done by Tourism Economics, 40,000 full-time jobs are supported by visitor spending, which also generates $5.8 billion in annual economic impact and $400 million in state and local tax revenue. The money helps fund priority programs and services such as fire and police departments and maintenance of public infrastructure.

The April 17 forum was not open to the public.

Candidates in the photo are standing as follows:

From left to right: Tom Caramanico, Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC); James Cuorato, IVCC; Greg Stafford, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association (GPHA); Ed Grose, GPHA; Jack Ferguson, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB); Julie Coker Graham, PHLCVB; Manny Stamatakis, Visit Philadelphia (VP); Meryl Levitz, VP; Senator Anthony Williams, democrat; James Kenney, democrat; Nelson Diaz, democrat; Lynne Abraham, democrat; Doug Oliver, democrat; Melissa Murray Bailey, republican; Matt O'Donnell, 6ABC; John McNichol, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCAA); Greg Fox, PCCA 

Atlantic City

Last year was the highest grossing ever for the United States commercial gaming industry.* Meeting planners who hold gatherings at casinos may just feel like they’ve hit the jackpot, too. Casino-based events provide one-stop convenience—the amenities of convention centers and bountiful hotel rooms, plus activities, dining, and nightlife. 


Doreen Guerin grew up an Air Force brat, living in Texas, Louisiana, and later England and France. When she was 13, her parents moved to Queens and, Guerin says, “I’m a New Yorker through and through.” That’s apparent from her accent as well as her dedication to the Javits Center, where, as the senior vice president of sales and marketing, she oversees the booking and event-related operations for more than 170 events each year. 

M+E: What fueled your interest in working in the conventions industry?


If you want to be sure your meeting in the Northeast will strengthen team bonds, consider holding it at Cliff House Maine. Nestled on 70 acres atop Bald Head Cliff on the southern coast of Maine, the luxury property offers 226 guest rooms, including 40 suites, an adjacent 18-hole golf course, and 25,000 square feet of conference and meeting space that can accommodate up to 300 attendees. Venues include the Atlantic Ballroom, with its double-height panoramic windows offering endless views of the Atlantic Ocean.