YORK, PA - The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to announce that the Pennsylvania Bus Association (PBA) has selected York to host its annual Marketplace in 2018 and 2019, choosing to return to the Factory Tour Capital of the World for one of its premier events.

The PBA will hold its Marketplace March 27-28 in 2018 and March 26-27 in 2019. The York Expo Center will play host to both conventions. York last hosted the event in 2006. 

Patrick Bourque, Sales Manager for the York County CVB, works to bring motorcoach groups to York County and said the convention will provide key business-to-business marketing opportunities for local attractions looking to build upon their existing group tour customer base. Operators are expected to bring up to 30 motorcoaches and more than 1,000 group tour leaders searching for fun, new and exciting places to travel. 

"This is valuable exposure for York County and the farmers markets, historical sites, attractions and factory tour locations that make it an enticing getaway for large groups. It's also a chance to reach motorcoach operators and group leaders who haven't yet had the opportunity to see what York County is all about, as well as those who might benefit from a refresher on what's new," Bourque said. "We're located in the middle of one of Pennsylvania's top tourist destinations, and hosting the PA Bus Marketplace will not only boost bus traffic to York County, but the entire Dutch Country Roads region, too." 

John Bailey owns Bailey Trailways in York and is Chairman of the Pennsylvania Bus Association. Bailey said he's happy to bring the Marketplace to York County in 2018 and 2019 and expects about 200 travel suppliers to attend the convention with hopes to catch the attention of group leaders. 

"You just don't get these opportunities every day of the week to have so many bus companies and group leaders come visit your community at the same time, and York County is doubly fortunate to be hosting the Marketplace in back-to-back years," Bailey said. "We know that attendees will leave impressed and ready to bring tour groups back in the future. It will be like a Christmas gift that we receive year after year after year."

The motorcoach tour and travel industry already plays an integral role in Pennsylvania's economy. According to the American Bus Association, the industry supports more than 60,000 jobs in the Keystone State, pumps more than $7 billion into the economy and generates more than $416 million in tax revenue for the state.

Group tours are part of a vibrant local tourism industry in York County, where visitors spend upward of $923 million a year. Tourism supported 7,637 jobs here in 2014, according to industry research. 

York County will also see a more immediate payoff, as convention attendees stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants and visit local attractions, sending a ripple of economic activity throughout the region. The PBA Marketplace is expected to generate about $1 million in economic benefits over its two years in York.

The Marketplace is an opportunity to showcase York County attractions that are already pulling in steady group tour traffic. Steam Into History, the York County History Center, Central Market House and York County's factory tours are among the most popular destinations for buses. York County has at least 15 group-friendly lodging properties, and York's central location makes it an ideal place to stay when visiting the entire region.

"Steam Into History is only 3 years old, but already more than 77,000 people from all over the world have traveled here to ride our Civil War-era replica steam engine," said Sharon A. Dorn, the CEO of the New Freedom-based attraction. "There's no doubt the group tour industry has played a significant role in our quick success, with motorcoaches traveling from as far as Iowa, Maine and even Canada to visit us. We look forward to the PBA Marketplace building upon that strong foundation." 

The Pennsylvania Bus Association has been connecting travel suppliers and group leaders at its Marketplace for more than 25 years. The convention is in the middle of a two-year run in Lancaster County. 

More than 20 different states are expected to be represented when the Marketplace comes to York in 2018 and 2019. The event is not open to the public.

 Headquartered in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Bus Association was founded in 1923 and has functioned without interruption and with an unrelenting commitment to the safety of the traveling public and the economic well-being of its member companies. PBA boasts a well-rounded program of activities for both bus operator and supplier members and carries a current membership of over 750 entities. Governmental affairs, travel and tourism marketing, education, safety and communication constitute the major areas of involvement for one of the oldest public passenger transportation associations in the United States.

 The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Mission is to maximize tourism expenditures and their economic impact in York County, PA, through comprehensive tourism sales and marketing programs. The York County CVB's Vision is for a York County where tourism is recognized for the value of its economic impact and its role in raising the profile of York County as a sought-after destination. For more information on the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 1-888-858-9675 or visit www.yorkpa.org.