Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Jan 17 2017

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

Philadelphia's Tourism Marketing Group's Success In 2016 And Stories For 2017

At today’s VISIT PHILADELPHIA® New Year’s Breakfast, the destination marketing organization released record 2016 hotel numbers for Center City Philadelphia and announced upcoming marketing initiatives, including a new virtual-reality and 360-degree video and photo experience on; new With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® ads for winter; year two for Philadelphia’s Historic District campaign; and a perks-packed, limited-time-only Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package.

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

  • Record occupancy – 78%
    –3.2 million hotel room nights
  • Record leisure room nights – 1 million for the first time in Philadelphia’s history
    –294% increase since 1997, when leisure accounted for just 254,000 room nights
  • Record Saturday night occupancy – 88%
    –Tying 2015’s record
    –Busiest night of the week in 2016
    –A record 37 Saturdays hit 90% or higher occupancy in 2016
    (Source: CBRE Hotels)

Hotel Market Mix:
Here is the Center City hotel projected market mix breakdown:

  • Individual leisure: 32%
  • Commercial: 31%
  • Group & Convention: 33%
  • Airlines & Government: 4%
    (Source: CBRE Hotels)

According to the market mix, about 1 in every 3 hotel guests was a leisure traveler. In 1997, when VISIT PHILADELPHIA began marketing the city as a leisure destination, leisure travelers accounted for just 14% of hotel room nights.

Record Web Visitation: &
Combined, and hit a record 20 million visits in 2016—that’s more than
1.5 million visitors per month. Annual web visitation has more than doubled since 2012.
(Source: Google Analytics)

Also last year, and sent 4 million organic (unpaid) clicks to partner websites. (Source: Google Analytics) People were so interested in what they were reading and seeing that they clicked over to museum, attraction, tour, restaurant and other websites to find out more information and plan their visits.

New 360-Degree Photo, Video & Virtual Reality Experience:
Visitors to will soon be able to tour Philadelphia before they arrive. In late January, the site will debut immersive, 360-degree photography and video with virtual-reality capabilities. These high-tech visual assets showcase the city in a new way and spotlight more than two dozen legendary sites and attractions—more than half of which are in Philadelphia’s Historic District.

To capture the footage, VISIT PHILADELPHIA worked with YouVisit, a world leader in this field and the creator of more than 1,000 virtual experiences for destinations such as Paris and New York. According to Business Insider, virtual reality is expected to be a $30 billion industry by 2020.

Social Media: Leveraging Live Video:
VISIT PHILADELPHIA delved deeply into live video in 2016, taking to four different platforms (Snapchat, Facebook Live, Periscope and Instagram Stories) to preview events, exhibits and festivals. The goal? To get people excited about these happenings and spur them to visit, spend money and even stay over. In all, the social media team produced 141 videos, resulting in:

  • More than 5 million views on Snapchat
  • 234,000+ views on Facebook Live
  • 36,000+ likes on Periscope

Brand Campaign: With Love, Philadelphia XOXO®:
VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® returns for its winter run, January 9 through March 26, 2017. The majority of the ad buy appears out of market—mostly in the New York and northern New Jersey DMA, which accounts for the largest visitor feeder market at 22%. For the first time since 2012, the campaign is expanding its reach to the Washington, DC area to build awareness of Philadelphia as a great drive destination for history, culinary delights, culture and fun. Placements include messages on the external screens at the Verizon Center—the home arena of DC’s NHL and NBA teams—reaching 2.8 million monthly commuters.

The With Love campaign marries creative lines that capture the Philadelphia experience with arresting photography. A sample of the new lines being used this season:

  • An evening in heels calls for a night in PJ's.
  • We were into Hamilton before it was cool.
  • Handwarmers? We call them cheesesteaks.
  • Head south for the winter. (New York/New Jersey only)
  • All in favor of a long weekend in Philly say “Yay.” (DC only)
  • We’re always ready to represent. (DC only)

A sample of the lines for the new Joint Marketing Partner ads:

  • The closest you will ever come to living dinosaurs. (The Franklin Institute)
  • Respect the tutu. (Pennsylvania Ballet)
  • Just the crescendo your date night needs. (The Philadelphia Orchestra)

In addition, VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s long-running campaigns to invite African-American, Latino and LGBT travelers to visit are getting major refreshes this year thanks to recently completed research studies for each market.

Winter’s More Fun When You Sleep Over:
The biggest version of the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package to date debuted in November 2016, and in December alone, hotels sold 80% more packages than they did in the same month in 2015. To date, more than 1,900 packages have been consumed for this season’s unprecedented deal.

Available at 38 hotels through March 19, 2017 (while supplies last), the offer includes:

  • Free hotel parking
  • Two untimed tickets to Jurassic World: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute
  • Admission and ice skate rentals for two at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
  • One $20 gift card for use at any of chef Jose Garces’ restaurants in Philadelphia
  • A code from Uber good for one free ride valued up to $10 for new and existing customers
  • From January 28 to February 5, 2017 only, two tickets to the Philadelphia Auto Show

The package is bookable at

Philadelphia’s Historic District:
VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s Historic District campaign returns in 2016 for year two beginning in April—thanks in part to generous grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, Lenfest and The Pew Charitable Trusts. To help drive visitation to and around the area from the Delaware River to 7th Street and Vine to Lombard Streets, VISIT PHILADELPHIA will:

  • Host four Historic District celebrations—one each season
  • Sponsor the Wawa Welcome America Block Party, which will take place over two days this year
  • Launch a collaborative multi-site art project with local influencer Conrad Benner
  • Promote the area through advertising, media relations, social media, web and content efforts

20 Major Happenings In 2017:

  1. American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent, Philadelphia Museum of Art, March 1-May 14, 2017
  2. 40th Anniversary Celebrations, African American Museum in Philadelphia, March-August 2017
  3. 20 Years as Philadelphia’s Garden District, Chestnut Hill Business District, April-September 4, 2017
  4. Museum of the American Revolution Grand Opening, April 19, 2017
  5. NFL Draft, April 27-29, 2017
  6. Penn Relays Carnival, April 27-29, 2017
  7. Philly Tech Week, April 28-May 6, 2017
  8. Main Fountain Garden Returns, Longwood Gardens, May 27, 2017
  9. 50 Unique Experiences in Fairmount Park, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Spring 2017
  10. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Grand Opening, Spring 2017
  11. ODUNDE, June 11, 2017
  12. Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect, Brandywine River Museum of Art, June 24-September 17, 2017
  13. Wawa Welcome America!, June 29-July 4, 2017
  14. LOVE Park Re-opening, Summer 2017
  15. O17, Opera Philadelphia, September 14-25, 2017
  16. Fireflies, Association for Public Art, September 15-October 8, 2017 (tentative end date)
  17. Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor, The Franklin Institute, September 30, 2017-March 4, 2018
  18. Revolutions, entertainment complex, now open
  19. Renovated Bucks County Playhouse, now open
  20. Independence Seaport Museum, new exhibits and programs

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, and, 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.

  • E-mail

Related Releases

Nov 20 2017

Winter Brings Seasonal Perks To The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts & Museum Admission In Addition To Free Parking

The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the winter with dining discounts and museum admission, plus its ever-popular and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at, the winter edition runs from December 1 through March 4, 2018.

Package Perks In Detail:
The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, responsible for more than 16,000 room nights in 2016, is available for one or more nights at more than 40 hotels in Center City and beyond. The winter hotel deal includes parking and tickets to the following with a combined value of up to $235:

  • Free parking:
Nov 6 2017

’Tis The Season: So Many Holiday Happenings In Philadelphia

The Region Celebrates With Lights, Trees, Parades, Fireworks, More

As temperatures drop in the history-rich, tradition-steeped city of Philadelphia, holiday spirit spills from shops, theaters, restaurants, parks and stadiums. Every must-do holiday list includes visits to Macy’s Christmas Light Show, a spin around the skating rink and more festive fun at Philadelphia City Hall, a seat at The Nutcracker, a nosh at Latkepalooza and a spot on the sidewalk for the Mummers Parade. These, and dozens more activations and traditions are supported by the Philly Holiday Festival, a creation of Welcome America, and Philadelphia’s Historic District HoliDays & Nights.

As always, the most wonderful way to enjoy

Sep 25 2017

Fall Brings Seasonal Perks To The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts, Plus Indego & PHLASH Passes Return

The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the fall with seasonal perks, plus its ever-valuable and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at, the autumn edition runs from September 5 through November 30, 2017.

Package Perks In Detail:
The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, responsible for more than 16,000 room nights in 2016, is available for one or more nights at more than 30 hotels in Center City and beyond. The fall deal includes the following with a combined value of up to $173:

  • Hotel parking (up to a $100 value for a two-night
Jun 14 2017

Summer Brings Seasonal Perks For The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts, Plus Indego & PHLASH Passes Return

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, 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

Jun 6 2017

Philadelphia's Classic Fourth Of July Celebration Turns 25

Wawa Welcome America! Includes Four Fireworks Shows, Four Concerts, Free Museums, Boyz II Men & Mary J. Blige

Welcome America turns 25 this year, and Philadelphia is planning a six-day Independence Day festival to celebrate. As always, a birthday party of this magnitude can take place only in the United States’ birthplace—Philly. From June 29 through July 4, 2017, Wawa Welcome America! includes four spectacular fireworks shows, a bigger Historic District Block Party, a delicious Wawa Hoagie Day and a huge July 4th concert—this time, starring Mary J. Blige. Also on the docket: Free Museum Days, outdoor movies—including Rocky on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps—and new alfresco happy hours.

To take in all the patriotic

May 24 2017

2016 Shows Record Visitation Again To Greater Philadelphia

Five-County Region Welcomed 42 Million Visitors Last Year

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

“Since 1997, Philadelphia has become a better destination—with investments in the region’s attractions, art, history, culture and parks—all of which have been amplified by consistent marketing,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “Today, Philadelphia is a

May 3 2017

Philadelphia's Historic District Gears Up For A Revolutionary Summer

New Museum, New Hotel & New Concert Make The Original City A Must This Summer

The just-opened Museum of the American Revolution brings the United States’ war for independence into today’s consciousness, using rarely seen relics, the original George Washington Headquarters Tent, dozens of arms, uniforms, artifacts, documents and historical vignettes of ordinary Americans to tell the extraordinary story of the nation’s founding. But the new museum isn’t the only reason to visit Philadelphia’s Historic District this summer. The Historic District consists of the Old City, Society Hill and Delaware River Waterfront neighborhoods, extending from the Delaware River to 7th Street and Vine Street to Lombard Street.

The District’s summer lineup of must-do events

May 1 2017

The Greater Philadelphia Region: Fast Facts


There are more than 4 million people residing in the five-county region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) and more than 1.5 million in Philadelphia, making it the second-largest city on the East Coast and the sixth-largest city in the country.


Philadelphia is a two-hour drive from New York City, two-and-a-half hours from Washington, DC and 45 minutes from Atlantic City, with convenient access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76, I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike. One-quarter of the U.S. population lives within a five-hour drive of Center City Philadelphia.

The city is a 90-minute flight or a

Apr 19 2017

In Philly, Spring Kicks Off With Pride

Philadelphia’s Current Season Of LGBT Events Includes Festivals, Theater, Bingo, Marches & More

In Philadelphia, warmer temperatures bring more than outdoor life: They also bring new life to the LGBT scene. The year’s LGBT festival season kicks off with Philadelphia Black Pride in April and continues with New Hope Celebrates Pride in one of Bucks County’s gay-friendliest boroughs. Much-anticipated LGBT-centric theater performances include Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Forrest Theatre, and the poignant The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Lovers of visual art and travel can whet both appetites at The Journeys of John Laub: Fire Island and Beyond, an exhibition of works by the late, out