Last week, Visit Philadelphia released their annual report that confirmed what those in Philly already knew—travel and tourism make a huge economic impact on the city.

The report noted that, in 2014, the industry’s impact was $10.4 billion. Other numbers showed that 39.7 million people visited the city; the impact supported 92,000 full time jobs; and that $655 million in state and local taxes was generated through the industry—helping support local programs.  

Additionally, the report featured information on leisure activities. Of the 39.7 million visitors, 34.9 million were there for leisure purposes, and of the 3.1 million hotel room nights, 30.7 percent were leisure stays. Philadelphia’s Saturday hotel occupancy is second only to New York City among major northeast cities.

“Greater Philadelphia’s tourism industry is strong and getting stronger each year,” says Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, Visit Philadelphia. “The leisure segment has been particularly successful. It’s increased 90 percent since 1997, making it the fastest growing segment of all.”

 

The return of familiarization trips is one key sign that things are beginning to return to normal in our industry. In mid-June the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) hosted more than 40 meeting and convention planners for a three-day familiarity tour. Their stay included a visit to the Franklin Institute and world premiere exhibit Harry Potter: The Exhibition, evening reception on the Rocky Steps, and a watch party as Philadelphia was announced as a host city for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

 

If you’ve hosted meetings at the Javits Center or other venues in Manhattan, you know that there’s more than enough to do in the borough to easily keep attendees busy for days.

 

Pittsburgh may be known as The Steel City, but it has plenty of greenery, too, and opportunities for groups attending meetings here to get out in nature. The Pittsburgh CVB, which has the tagline “Only in Pittsburgh,” has proudly shared the news that the Great Allegany Passage was named a winner in the 2022 USA Today “10Best Readers’ Choice” travel award contest for “best recreational trail.”