Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Sep 12 2016

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Greater Philadelphia’s Tourism Marketing Agency Showcases Two Decades Of Results & Looks To The Future

Twenty years ago, a few civic-minded leaders believed Philadelphia could become a competitive leisure destination and created the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) to make that vision a reality. This year, the organization that began as a three-year experiment, now known as VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, celebrates its 20th anniversary with an annual report that validates the vision of 1996 and shows that 41 million people visited the region in 2015—a 54% increase over 1997.

For two decades now, VISIT PHILADELPHIA has built the brand of the region and driven visitation with memorable advertising campaigns such as With Love, Philadelphia XOXO®, which recently won a 2016 Destinations Council Destiny Award from the U.S. Travel Association. In addition, the tourism-marketing company’s integrated marketing approach has long included a strong public relations push, two powerhouse websites—visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com—and 15 engaging social media channels.

“Many people and publications have called Philadelphia an overnight sensation,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “That’s wonderful, but the fact is that many people, organizations and businesses have worked for many years to make Philadelphia the must-visit destination it is today. The good news is: It’s worked. Just ask the 650 million people who have visited since 1997.”

How It All Began:
In 1996, then-Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, then-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts Rebecca Rimel saw promise in the Philadelphia region’s travel potential and founded GPTMC.

Rendell, Ridge and Rimel laid out their mission for the organization in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed. They called their vision of the Philadelphia region as a leisure destination a “golden promise” and detailed their goals of getting more people to stay overnight, building the region’s image and collecting data to learn from and adapt marketing strategies.

20 Years By The Numbers:
Here’s a look at how Philadelphia stacked up as a visitor destination then and now:

1997:
26.7 million visitors to the five-county region
254,000 leisure room nights in Center City hotels
22 (6,701 rooms) in Center City hotels

2015: (last year for available data)
41 million visitors to the five-county region
983,000 leisure room nights in Center City hotels
50 (11,185 rooms) in Center City hotels

Percentage growth (1997-2015)
:
54% visitors to the five-county region
287% leisure room nights in Center City hotels
67% increase in room supply in Center City hotels

Record Visitation & The Leisure Story:
A record 41 million people—88% of them here for a leisure purpose—visited the five-county region in 2015, the sixth consecutive year for record-breaking visitation in the region.

“Philadelphia went from stopover to sleepover,” said Levitz. “Visitors now choose to come here, stay overnight and infuse money into the region’s economy by touring museums, attending events, eating out and buying souvenirs. We know that when they stay in Philadelphia longer, they find more to fall in love with and more reasons to return over and over again.”

Overnight leisure proves to be the fastest-growing segment in Center City hotels. In 1997, when VISIT PHILADELPHIA started marketing the region as a leisure destination, leisure accounted for just 14% of all room nights. In 2015, one out of every three Center City hotel rooms—that’s 32%—was occupied by a leisure stay. (Sources for all stats: CBRE Hotels, Longwoods International and Econsult Solutions, Inc.)

A Golden Promise, A Golden Future:
While any time is a good time for visitors to explore Philadelphia’s legendary history, art, food, music and park scenes, new legends in the making will give people additional reasons to visit and give VISIT PHILADELPHIA additional stories to spotlight. Here’s a look at what’s on the horizon for 2017 and beyond: the Museum of the American Revolution (2017), a reimagined LOVE Park (2017), the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center (2017), Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East (2018) and many new hotels. Thanks to a generous grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, VISIT PHILADELPHIA also plans to increase its promotional efforts around Historic Philadelphia over the next two years.

The following partners made VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s annual report and anniversary celebration possible: PNC, SugarHouse Casino, KYW Newsradio, Where Philadelphia, Asher’s Chocolate and Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners. View VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s 30-year Destination Timeline here.
 

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

 

Contact(s):
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In honor of World Emoji Day, VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, the region’s official tourism marketing agency, today announced the launch of its sticker pack, featuring expressive Philly-themed illustrations and animations that locals and visitors can use in iMessage chats on iPhones and iPads.

The sticker pack features 33 shareable emojis that give Apple users a creative way to talk about the City of Brotherly Love in their private day-to-day messages. Graphics include an animated Liberty Bell with heart-eyes, a Philly cheesesteak, VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s own “XOXO” from the beloved With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign and, of course, an illustration of

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Jun 20 2017

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U.S. News & World Report today released its Best Rankings, and Philadelphia ranked #2 on two key travel lists: Best Places to Visit in the USA and Best Historic Destinations in the USA—great timing as travelers prepare to make their summer travel plans. The rankings are based on an analysis of expert and consumer opinions.

The Best Places to Visit in the USA list features New York City, Philadelphia and Honolulu in the top three spots, while the Best Historic Destinations list includes New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco highest in its ranking.

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Jun 14 2017

Summer Brings Seasonal Perks For The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

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The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the summer with seasonal perks, plus its ever-valuable and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight, the summer edition runs from June 16 to September 4, 2017.

For stays beginning June 16, guests receive: free hotel parking; passes for Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; tickets for the PHLASH downtown loop, stopping at more than 20 Philly attractions; $20 for use at any of Chef Jose Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants; $20 toward dinner at the Moshulu, a restaurant within a Tall Ship permanently docked at Penn’s Landing; and roller

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May 24 2017

2016 Shows Record Visitation Again To Greater Philadelphia

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VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced yesterday that Greater Philadelphia—that’s Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties—welcomed 42 million domestic visitors in 2016. This marks the seventh consecutive year for record visitation and a 2.4% increase over 2015. Of those 42 million visitors, 37 million (88%) visited for a leisure purpose. More details appear in VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s annual report, downloadable at visitphilly.com/annualreport.

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May 3 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Marks National Travel & Tourism Week

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To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), taking place from May 7-13, 2017, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today released a video highlighting the people who welcome visitors to Philadelphia every day. Entitled the “Faces of Travel,” the video supports the U.S. Travel Association’s NTTW 2017 theme and invites travelers to Philadelphia. It echoes VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s 20-year tradition of extending inviting and love-filled messages to potential visitors. The video is viewable on YouTube.

“Philadelphia is the City—and region—of Brotherly Love, and our campaigns have long had a welcoming message of love and inclusion to reflect that,” said Meryl Levitz, president

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Mar 17 2017

The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Springs Into A New Season

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This spring, the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package includes not only its always-offered-and-convenient free hotel parking, but extra perks that make it easier for visitors to get around once they arrive too. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight for stays beginning on March 20, 2017, the spring edition of the package comes with free passes for Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; free tickets for the PHLASH downtown loop, which stops at more than 20 Philly attractions; credit toward an Uber ride and $50 in SugarHouse Casino perks.

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Mar 10 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Debuts 360-Degree Photo, Video & Virtual Reality Experience

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Feb 15 2017

Visit Philadelphia Announces Three New Staff Appointments

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VISIT PHILADELPHIA® welcomed two new staffers and promoted another within the organization this month, adding Kara Callahan as vice president of advertising and strategic alliances, Laura Burkhardt as vice president of visitor appeal, and elevating Jim Werner to vice president of hotel relations and tourism development.

“We’re happy to welcome Kara and Laura and to promote Jim, a long-time member of our team,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “We’re coming off a banner year for hospitality in 2016, and the new leadership positions will strengthen our talented team by helping us to fulfill our mission,

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Jan 19 2017

Kimpton Hotel Manager Joins VISIT PHILADELPHIA Team

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VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced today that it has welcomed James Adamson, general manager of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, to its board.

“We are happy that James has joined our board,” said Manuel Stamatakis, VISIT PHILADELPHIA board chairman. “He has many years of hotel management experience, and we look forward to tapping into his knowledge base as we develop marketing plans and strategies for VISIT PHILADELPHIA moving forward.”

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Jan 17 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Reports A Record For 2016 Leisure Tourism & Announces Plans For 2017

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2016: A Record Year:
In 2016, Center City Philadelphia hotels are projected to have hit:

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    –3.2 million hotel room nights
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