Philadelphia is a city of innovators, a city of makers, a city of immense cultural and historic significance. There’s a reason why it was once the capital of the United States.
As a native son of the city, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) Jack Ferguson represents Philadelphia to the world.
“What that truly means is that we’re out asking people to come to meetings, conventions, shows and international travel for groups or individuals,” Ferguson said of his role at PHLCVB. “I always tell people that the melting pot of Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market because you get the best of all cultures that we have to offer. Our residents, our workers, our visitors, our convention attendees and our rail system that runs beneath it.”
An entrepreneur, Ferguson’s career has seen him head national and international sales staffs of 2,200 for such companies as Promus Hotel Corp., Doubletree Hotels and Guest Quarters Suite Hotels. Click To Tweet
He previously served as senior vice president and partner of LearnSystem, which has the capability to reach hundreds of thousands of hospitality industry professionals to improve job performance and customer service skills via web-based training and evaluation.
“I think there are multiple things that make Philadelphia the ideal renaissance city,” Ferguson said. “When you talk to international travelers, and we do surveys of international travelers, it becomes clear that the city is historically known. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence. They know what was done here and they know that the country was founded here.”
They also know the story of Rocky Balboa and the iconic steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“It’s iconic and it always shows Philadelphia as it understands its people and supports its winners,” Ferguson said. “Certainly Rocky was a winner, that’s a very positive thing. They know a little bit about the culture, I think in particular they know about the depth of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they are also now familiar with the Barnes Foundation and the art there. They know us culturally, maybe not as deeply and as richly as we would like them to.”
International visitors also find the architectural richness of the city tied into its history, he added, going all the way back to how and why William Penn designed the city the way he did.