PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia's tourism and hospitality industry is gearing up for the return of major conventions, meetings and sporting events this year. Building on momentum from 2021, which saw the resumption of travel and events, Philadelphia is currently planning to host more than 150 total events generated by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) in 2022, including 19 citywides, drawing nearly 450,000 attendees, generating more than 498,000 hotel room nights and upwards of $371 million in economic impact.
Defined as a convention or event that generates more than 2,000 hotel rooms on its peak night, “citywides” create stability within the industry and help support hospitality jobs in the Philadelphia region. The citywide calendar begins this month with the first weekend of East Coast Volleyball's 2022 Northeast Volleyball Qualifier tournament (March 11-13). Hosted at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the sporting event has an estimated attendance of 17,500.
“As demand for travel and in-person events continues to increase, I am optimistic looking ahead to the meetings and conventions slated for this year,” said Gregg Caren, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Right now we are anticipating attendance levels to be 50-70% of what was originally projected, with the hopes that this will continue to increase over time. Thanks to new and returning events, hotels, restaurants and other businesses that rely on Philadelphia's visitors will see a boost from 2021 levels. The return of convention attendees will be a welcomed sight across the city this year.”
Key drivers in bringing meetings and conventions to Philadelphia from significant market sectors are the PHLCVB's unique business development divisions: PHL Life Sciences, PHL Diversity and PHL Sports.
In 2022, PHL Life Sciences-related events will represent 91,000 total hotel room nights. Notable events include the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Conference (October 7-16). PHL Diversity will welcome Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. for its National Boule Convention, (July 20-24), expected to generate more than 9,000 hotel room nights.
PHL Sports will partner with the University of Pennsylvania and the Wells Fargo Center to host the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball East Regional (March 25-27) at the Wells Fargo Center, the tournament's first visit to Philadelphia since 2016. The sold-out crowds are expected to generate more than 8,000 room nights for area hotels. This year, Philadelphia is also welcoming back the Army-Navy Game, marking the 90th time the historic rivalry has been hosted in the city. The game, being played at Lincoln Financial Field December 10, is expected to attract 50,000 visitors to Philadelphia.
Throughout the pandemic the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA) put initiatives in place to prepare for a safe re-opening, investing approximately $25 million in capital improvements. These focused on environmental hygiene and implementation of enhanced health and safety protocols, based on guidance from the CDC and facility operator ASM Global's VenueShield program. Measures resulted in the Center earning its GBAC STAR accreditation in 2020 and reaccreditation in 2021.
“The PCCA's focus last year was on reopening safely for our customers,” said John McNichol, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. “As a state-of-the-art facility, we went to great lengths to ensure the safety of our guests and staff, while maintaining the highest levels of customer service in a hospitable environment. Resulting from these initiatives, we saw a steady return of events to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and as we move toward a post-pandemic era, we will continue to prioritize the well-being of all who enter our facility and work closely with meeting planners to expertly facilitate their events.”
In 2022, building improvements and providing a healthy and safe environment for all guests will continue to be a priority for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The facility is currently undergoing several capital renovation projects and network infrastructure upgrades with the goal of improving the overall guest experience.
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About the PHLCVB:
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, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and attracting overnight visitors. The PHLCVB's work engages our partners, the local Philadelphia community as well as culturally and ethnically diverse regional, national and international convention, sporting event and tourism customers. The PHLCVB is also the official tourism promotion agency for the city of Philadelphia globally and is responsible for growing the number of overseas leisure visitors who come to the region each year. To learn more, visit www.discoverPHL.com.