Mayoral Candidates Forum

All seven Philadelphia mayoral candidates recently met to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the travel and tourism industry.

The candidates met during the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Hospitality and Tourism, hosted by five major tourism industry organizations at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia. The organizations were the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, the Independence Visitor Center Corporation, the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and Visit Philadelphia.

There are 65,000 leisure and hospitality jobs in Philadelphia. According to research done by Tourism Economics, 40,000 full-time jobs are supported by visitor spending, which also generates $5.8 billion in annual economic impact and $400 million in state and local tax revenue. The money helps fund priority programs and services such as fire and police departments and maintenance of public infrastructure.

The April 17 forum was not open to the public.

Candidates in the photo are standing as follows:

From left to right: Tom Caramanico, Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC); James Cuorato, IVCC; Greg Stafford, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association (GPHA); Ed Grose, GPHA; Jack Ferguson, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB); Julie Coker Graham, PHLCVB; Manny Stamatakis, Visit Philadelphia (VP); Meryl Levitz, VP; Senator Anthony Williams, democrat; James Kenney, democrat; Nelson Diaz, democrat; Lynne Abraham, democrat; Doug Oliver, democrat; Melissa Murray Bailey, republican; Matt O'Donnell, 6ABC; John McNichol, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCAA); Greg Fox, PCCA 

Hotel Pennsylvania is one step closer to the completion of its top-to-bottom transformation. The historic New York marvel revealed 230 redesigned rooms incorporating modern comforts with original features. In celebration of its 100-year anniversary, phase two of three seamlessly represents an evolution of its renowned history.


Visit Bucks County (VBC) hosted its annual Event Venue Show, an exclusive meeting planner event, at the Michener Art Museum on Sep. 19. The event showcased 45 exhibitors from local Bucks County venues and businesses to 100 meeting and event planners from the Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York region.


North of Philadelphia, Bucks County is celebrating their record-breaking amount of visitors.  

In 2018, the county welcomed 8.15 million visitors, an increase of 1.6 percent from 2017 and achieved a record-breaking $1.1 billion in total economic impact. With such numbers, the hospitality industry is taking full advantage.  

As Bucks County tourist status rises, for the travelers who are searching for a local experience, Bucks County is filled with breweries, independent restaurants, and hidden gems to visit.