Hidden from small

2019 China: Guest Post from Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

May 24, 2019

For six years, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) has proudly partnered with The Philadelphia Orchestra as a Supporting Sponsor to support its highly acclaimed tours of China.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is a tremendous symbol of our city and serves as one of our best cultural ambassadors abroad. Music is a uniting force and it was a pleasure to accompany the Fabulous Philadelphians on this trip that marked 40 years of U.S.-China diplomatic relations.

As the official global marketing agency for the City of Philadelphia, our goal is to drive overseas visitation to the city. China is Philadelphia’s second largest source market for overseas visitation and our number one market in terms of overseas visitor spending. Working hand-in-hand with The Philadelphia Orchestra to foster people-to-people cultural exchange has helped to demonstrate and promote the friendly relationship between Philadelphia and China.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Julie Coker Graham, and Valley Forge Tourism Board President & CEO Mike Bowman attend the Orchestra’s May 18 performance with tourism customers and media. Photo by Chris Lee

Our team arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, May 14. In the lead-up to the weekend performances, we hosted a media salon to educate Chinese journalists, bloggers, and influencers on Philadelphia and the surrounding region—the countryside of Philadelphia—to inspire travel-related stories on our destination. We were pleased to have Orchestra Executive Director Ryan Fleur join us for the media salon.

Julie Coker Graham and Ryan Fleur. Photo by PHLCVB

Ryan Fleur speaks to media at an event organized by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photo by PHLCVB

On Friday, we attended the first performance of the tour and invited two local media to join us to experience the “Philadelphia Sound.” We also were joined by two winners from a social media contest we ran on WeChat, the largest social platform in the world with over one billion users, which helped to promote the Orchestra and Philadelphia. Photo by PHLCVB

Julie Coker Graham and Michael Bowman outside the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Photo by PHLCVB

Julie Coker Graham and Michael Bowman stand in front of a poster at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Photo by PHLCVB

For Saturday’s performance, we hosted a large group of travel and tour operator customers for a reception at our hotel prior to traveling to the National Centre for the Performing Arts.

PHLCVB and the countryside of Philadelphia invited their guests to a cocktail reception prior to Saturday’s concert. Photo by PHLCVB

A particularly memorable moment for me on Saturday was representing the PHLCVB as we were honored for our continued support of The Philadelphia Orchestra alongside leaders from the music community in Beijing and US political leaders.

On both evenings, I was struck by our guests’ passion and appreciation for The Philadelphia Orchestra. Many were very informed on the history of the Orchestra and the music selections. Going backstage to meet Yannick was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.

We look forward to welcoming many of our guests and Chinese visitors to Philadelphia and recreating some of the special memories from our evenings at the National Centre for the Performing Arts right here at home at the Kimmel Center.