As president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, Jeff Guaracino is charged with building the region’s image, driving visitation and boosting the economy. In 2017 alone, the Greater Philadelphia region welcomed 43.3 million people, and 88% of them were here for a leisure purpose.
Guaracino, who assumed the role in October 2018, has a 20-year track record of success in tourism and organizational management. His expertise is in growth, change and crisis with career-defining moments coming from taking on difficult challenges, developing new markets to increase tourism and expanding organizational capacity and impact.
Before being named to lead VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Guaracino spent 11 years on the company’s communications team, first serving in a director role and later as a vice president. During his time at VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Guaracino was part of the leadership team working on many of the organization’s groundbreaking marketing campaigns, including Philly’s More Fun When You Sleep Over®, With Love, Philadelphia XOXO®, With Art Philadelphia® and Philly Homegrown. He also developed the pioneering Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight And Your Nightlife Gay®.
More recently, Guaracino served as president and CEO of Welcome America, Inc., a 501c3, nonprofit organization in public-private partnership with the City of Philadelphia. Welcome America, Inc.’s mission is to promote American history, education and Philadelphia. The organization seeks to enhance the resident and visitor experience through citywide events, including the Wawa Welcome America Fourth of July celebration, that boost the local economy.
Prior to joining Welcome America, Inc., Guaracino was the executive director of the Atlantic City Alliance, a private, nonprofit, destination-marketing organization for Atlantic City, New Jersey. There he led the tourism industry through the seaside resort’s most turbulent tourism period. The DO AC campaign drove leisure visitation and non-gaming revenue to the city as it experienced increased competition from the expansion of gaming in nearby states and an increased hotel room supply. He also led the destination’s recovery strategy after Superstorm Sandy.
Previously, he worked at The Franklin Institute and CBS Television.
Guaracino has built an international reputation for his work in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. He is also the author of two books: Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing (Elsevier, 2007) and Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality: A Guide for Business Practice (Harrington Park Press/Columbia University Press, 2017). Both books are industry firsts.
Guaracino is a board member of the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, a Philadelphia nonprofit whose groundbreaking work on the John C. Anderson Apartments—a low-income, LGBT-friendly, senior housing project—has been hailed as a national model by The Washington Post.
Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.