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.

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Related Releases

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

Jan 11 2017

Biggest, Best-Ever Version Of The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Now Available

Package Includes Philadelphia Auto Show Tickets For Limited Time Only

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announces a new perk for the in-demand Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Winter Getaway. Guests who book the package and stay at any of 38 Philadelphia hotels between January 28 and February 5, 2017 receive the bonuses listed below—plus two tickets to the Philadelphia Auto Show. This package, typically valued up to $228, jumps up to a $256 value with the Auto Show tickets. The standard winter package, available until March 19, 2017, includes:

  • Free hotel parking
  • Two untimed tickets to Jurassic World: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute
  • Admission and ice skate rentals for two at
Nov 22 2016

Philadelphia Rings In 2017 By Starting Early & Ending Late

Two Fireworks Shows & The Mummers Parade Are Among Philly's All-Ages Festivities

In Philadelphia, ringing in the New Year begins early and ends late. Daytime and early-evening bashes entertain children at the Please Touch Museum®, Franklin Square and Independence Seaport Museum. Fireworks displays over the Delaware River go off at 6 p.m. and midnight. On New Year’s Day, thousands of colorfully costumed merrymakers march in the Mummers Parade, the nation’s oldest folk parade.

The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package lets revelers enjoy every moment with free hotel parking, two tickets to The Franklin Institute’s Jurassic World: The Exhibition, admission and skate rentals for two at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, a

Nov 14 2016

'Tis The Season: Holiday Happenings In Philadelphia

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

Twinkling lights, the echo of carols and a nip in the air all bring a sprinkle of seasonal magic to Philadelphia. This year the festivities get an extra touch of sparkle with the launch of the Philly Holiday Festival, the city’s colorful, seven-week holiday gift to locals and visitors, featuring a new spectacularly lit tree and America’s Garden Capital Maze in Dilworth Park, parades, light shows and two fireworks displays along the Delaware River. Beyond the festivals, revelers can enjoy all of their regional favorites, including the dazzling Longwood Gardens Christmas display and Washington’s annual Crossing of the Delaware River

Nov 3 2016

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Winter Getaway

This Season’s Package Is Bigger, Better & Perkier Than Ever

VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, the region’s official tourism marketing agency, announced an unprecedented version of its Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for winter. Redeemable from November 25, 2016 through March 19, 2017, the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Winter Getaway is bookable online now at and starts at $99 per night. The package, offered at 38 Center City hotels, is valued at up to $228 and includes:

  • Free hotel parking
  • Two untimed tickets to Jurassic World: The Exhibition, making its North American debut at The Franklin Institute
  • Admission and ice skate rentals for two at Blue Cross RiverRink
Jul 24 2016

How Is Visit Philly Supporting the DNC?

Fact Sheet

Philadelphia is ready to welcome the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) to town from July 25-28, 2016—and with it, the eyes of the world. As the five-county region’s official destination-marketing organization, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® has been working for more than a year to ensure that the region is a star, not a backdrop, through media relations, web and social media promotion, advertisements and collateral.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA worked on the bid, presented to the site-selection committee, served on committees, delivered speeches, sat on panels and conducted interviews about Philadelphia’s major role in the DNC—and that’s just the beginning. Here’s a look

Jun 14 2016

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Reports Record Visitation To Region In 2015

Another Record: $10.7 Billion In Economic Impact For The Year

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today announced the sixth straight year for record visitation to the five-county region: 41 million domestic visitors in 2015, with 88% here for a leisure purpose. The year also brought record highs for tourism’s economic impact, which came in at $10.7 billion for the year.

“Each year, more people visit Philadelphia, more people stay overnight and more people find reasons to visit every month of the year, not just during the warm-weather months or for big events,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “They’re also spending more while they’re here, and that’s a major plus

Jun 3 2016

Memorial Day Weekend Breaks Records For Center City Hotels

Crowds In Historic Philadelphia, Special Events & Exhibitions & Great Weather Played A Part

Center City hotels were full this Memorial Day weekend with both Saturday and Sunday seeing the highest occupancies for those nights in at least a decade.

Overall Weekend Hotel Occupancy:

  • Friday: 82.8% (+5% from 2015 when occupancy was at 78.5%, source: Smith Travel Research)
  • Saturday: 98.0% (+1.4% from 2015 when occupancy was at 96%, source: Smith Travel)
  • Sunday 93.4% (+21.1% from 2015 when occupancy was at 77%, source: Travel Click 2016)

“Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer tourism season, and what a great one it was for Philadelphia thanks to so many factors in Historic Philadelphia and

Mar 29 2016

Resources For Your DNC Philadelphia Stories

New DNC Destination Media Website Includes Vantage Point Map, Interview Database & B-Roll

VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, the region’s official destination marketing organization, has created destination resources for media to use up to and through the Democratic National Convention, taking place in Philadelphia July 25-28, 2016. All available on the new, the tools can help press develop compelling destination stories; discover the best locations for man-on-the-street coverage, stand-up video shots and photos; and identify interesting interview subjects.

  • Interview Database: VISIT PHILADELPHIA built a database of potential interview subjects—people who can speak about the city’s history, art, food scene, LGBT culture, music legacy, tourism and more.
  • Press Releases & Story