Press Releases

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Highlights Results as Economic Catalysts at Annual Report Business Meeting

9 April, 2019

Philadelphia, PA – April 9, 2019 – The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) presented key findings on the hospitality industry at its Annual Report Business Meeting this afternoon. Eighteen citywide conventions, the most in a decade, and an increase in overseas visitation combined to bring 1.3 million overnight visitors to Philadelphia. Both have contributed to a growth in hospitality-related jobs, hotel room nights booked, and overall visitor spend – all markers of the industry's success and impact on the local economy.

 “The PHLCVB has played a major role in the positive growth and development of our city. Through their work, Philadelphia is now viewed as a top destination for meetings, conventions, sporting events and visitors from across the globe,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

 As the official tourism promotion agency for Philadelphia globally and the primary sales and marketing organization for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the PHLCVB coordinates efforts with local partners and seven international representation offices around the world to bring visitors to the city.  

 “2018 set new records across most of our industry's key performance metrics – more visitors came to our city, stayed in our hotels and spent money with local businesses,” said PHLCVB Chairman of the Board Nick DeBenedictis. “This economic activity drives results for our city and region by generating taxes and supporting the 74,300 hospitality-related jobs in Philadelphia, which has grown by 15% since 2013. Tourism and hospitality is one of the city's largest and fastest growing employment sectors and the visitors we bring to the city create stability and opportunity for workers across a broad spectrum of jobs.”

 Key results include:

  • Center City hotels set modern-day records for annual occupancy (79.6%), average daily rate ($191), and hotel room revenue ($675M). Room revenue soared 9.2% above the previous record set in 2017.
  • The convention and group segment generated 2 million hotel room nights in Philadelphia, leading to $208 million in hotel room revenue, more than any other market segment.
  • In 2018, PHLCVB-booked events brought 604,000 attendees to Philadelphia, who contributed to a direct spend of $324 million.
  • The meetings, conventions and sporting events that the PHLCVB brought to Philadelphia generated a total estimated economic impact of $500 million.

In 2018, the PHLCVB sales team booked 607 meetings, conventions and sporting events for future years, which are estimated to generate 827,177 hotel room nights. Over 40% of these future booked rooms will occur within the next five years. One of the major victories in 2018 was securing Natural Products Expo East for multiple years, beginning in 2020. The citywide will bring 32,000 attendees to Philadelphia, generating over 25,000 room nights each year.

PHLCVB's annual report also contained the most recent data (2017) for overseas visitation to Philadelphia. The Global Tourism Department travels to domestic and international trade shows to promote and position the city as a leisure travel destination. In 2018, the team participated in 48 trade shows in 14 countries, led 14 sales missions in 12 countries, and hosted 334 travel buyers from 21 countries. Additionally, the Philadelphia-based team hosted 96 international media from over 19 countries and placed over 1,600 stories about Philadelphia as a leisure travel destination in overseas travel trade and consumer media.

Key results include:

  • Overseas visitation to Philadelphia climbed to 648,100 in 2017, a 9% increase in five years.
  • Visitor spending reached $651 million (+7.2% year-over-year).
  • Overseas visitors generated a $1.1 billion economic impact for Philadelphia.
  • In total, overseas travelers account for 55% of all international visitation and 78% of all international visitor spending.
  • On average, each overseas visitor spent $1,004 in Philadelphia during their visit (+6.5% year-over-year).
  • The United Kingdom remains the top feeder market for Philadelphia, attracting 108,900 visitors in 2017. China remained the number two feeder market, increasing visitors YoY by 2.1%, and South Korea jumped in YoY growth by 18.1%.
  • In 2018, to support continued growth in China, the PHLCVB doubled down on its Chinese social media efforts. Adding to its success on the Chinese platform Weibo (currently over 100,000 followers), the PHLCVB launched a WeChat channel. Philadelphia is one of the first destinations to have a U.S.-based owned-and-verified, official WeChat service account. With over 1 billion active monthly users, WeChat is by far the most used social media service in China and around the world.

The event also included a panel discussion with national travel and tourism experts who explored macroeconomic trends, alongside policy and advocacy priorities, and how they are expected to impact Philadelphia. Moderator Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International guided a conversation with Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics, Tori Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at U.S. Travel Association, and Troy Flanagan, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Industry Relations at American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

To learn more about the PHLCVB and the progress made in 2018, or to download a copy of the PHLCVB's Annual Report, visit www.discoverphl.com/annualreport.

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The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) creates positive economic impact across the Philadelphia region, driving job growth, and promoting the health and vibrancy of our hospitality industry by marketing the destination and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and attracting overnight visitors. Our work engages our local community, as well as culturally and ethnically diverse regional, national and international convention, sporting event and tourism customers.