Philadelphia Tourism Industry Shows 10-Year Growth

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 10/07/2008 - In 2007, the Greater Philadelphia region set a new record in the tourism industry by welcoming 30 million visitors. A new report released today by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) also shows that in the past decade there has been 36% growth in total visitation, and overnight leisure travel soared by 63%.

GPTMC's 2007 Visitor Volume Report includes data from Longwoods International, PKF Consulting, Tourism Economics and Smith Travel Research. A summary of the report is available for free at Here are some highlights:

  • 30 million people visited Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Chester counties. This figure marks a record number of travelers to the Philadelphia region. Visitors came from every U.S. state, with the most hailing from the Mid-Atlantic and South-Atlantic regions.
  • The Greater Philadelphia hospitality industry has been growing for 10 years. There were four million more overnight leisure visitors sleeping over in 2007 than there were before the region's first advertising campaign began in 1997. This represents a 63% increase, going from 6.5 million leisure visitors staying overnight to 10.5 million people last year.
  • In 2007, Center City hotel occupancy was healthy at 74.1%, among the best in 18 years.
Meryl Levitz, GPTMC president and CEO, announced the findings at a meeting of the region's hospitality industry who gathered for a presentation by Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association (TIA), on the trends and challenges that are impacting the global travel industry over the next year. Levitz addressed how GPTMC will respond to the challenges.

"More visitors are important because the money they spend is immediately returned to our local economy through jobs, tax revenues and consumer spending at our shops, attractions, hotels and restaurants," said Levitz. "As we know, 2008 will not be as bright as 2007."

To keep ahead of the new economic challenges and changes in travelers' behaviors, GPTMC will adjust its advertising, communications, Web, social media and other marketing strategies. GPTMC will continue the Philly's More FunTM branding campaign, launched in 2006, that promotes the destination as historic, affordable, accessible, discoverable and authentic. In addition, over the next year, Levitz said that GPTMC will:

  • Launch seasonal tourism marketing campaigns during the times hotels need the business most. The campaigns will focus on advertising, Web and media relations that show the many ways visitors can discover their own fun. The advertising campaigns will offer a retail component through value-added hotel offers, such as the Philly Overnight(R) Hotel Package with free hotel parking.
  • Run a series of exhibition-based tourism marketing campaigns highlighting those "Only-in-Philadelphia," "limited-engagement" or "blockbuster" events such as Galileo, Medici and the Age of Astronomy; Cézanne and Beyond; and America I AM: The African American Imprint, all debuting in 2009.
  • Place a greater focus on the vibrant towns in the four counties neighboring Philadelphia to expand the visitor experience, to increase their stays here and to encourage repeat visitation.
  • Expand, the region's award-winning visitor Web site, with new mobile application technology, including travel-purchase capabilities and new content, photos and videos.'s blog posts, itineraries, videos and technology will be incorporated into to make it an even more valuable 24-hour, seven-days-a-week travel information source.
  • Expand GPTMC's cultural and diversity tourism marketing campaigns to reach a wider array of visitors through customized outreach that allows them to discover their own Philadelphia and The Countryside® experience.
Visitors to the Philadelphia region spend $9.3 billion per year, about $25.5 million a day. The Philadelphia hospitality industry employs 88,225 people throughout the five-county region. And tourism generates $1.3 billion in state, local and federal taxes.

Founded in 1996 by the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The Pew Charitable Trusts, GPTMC focuses on promoting the five-county region as a premier destination through marketing and image building.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit or, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

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