The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau has named Stefan Merkl as its new senior international tourism sales manager.

Merkl, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Golden Gate University in California, will be in charge of promoting Philly in Asian and Middle Eastern markets, such as China and India, with the hope of increasing tourism spending and visitors to the city.

“Asia and the Middle East are rapidly growing markets for overseas travel to the United States and Philadelphia,” says Brian Said, executive director, tourism, PHLCVB. “In recent years, we have seen strong tourism growth and interest from international travelers coming to the city. 2015 is a pivotal year for Philadelphia and we are thrilled to have Stefan on our team to expand our growth as a unique international destination.”

He will also team up with tour operators to create itineraries that incorporate Philadelphia in way that highlights the value and world-famous landmarks in the city.

Merkl has extensive experience in the tourism industry, especially in Asian Markets. Over the last nine years he managed the sales and marketing work of the San Francisco-based sightseeing operator, Red and White Fleet.

 “I am thrilled with this opportunity to join the PHLCVB and to grow Philadelphia’s brand internationally in Asian and Middle Eastern markets,” says Merkl. “Philadelphia is an exciting international destination featuring a unique combination of history, culture and modern innovation that will resonate with visitors from the region. It has always been a city that has fascinated me personally and I’m excited to work with the PHLCVB team to solidify Philadelphia’s place as a premier global destination.”

As the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to put immense pressure on the U.S. health care system and the people who keep it running, the American Hotel and Lodging Association is working to connect hotels with health workers who are struggling to find housing.


With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, most people are working from home. Many are social distancing or quarantining with their children, who have transitioned to online classes. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, offices, stores and so much more have been temporarily shut down in many states, affecting daily life in the most unexpected of ways.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday recommended that all gatherings of more than 50 people be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks, in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The recommendation covers events like parades, concerts, festivals, conferences, sporting events, weddings and more.