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 

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