Visit Philadelphia, which began as a three-year experiment to increase tourism to the area, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. During the two decades of its existence, the CVB has succeeded in drawing large numbers of people to the area, with 41 million people visiting in 2015—a 54 percent increase from 1997.
In the past 20 years, Visit Philadelphia has strengthened its brands with a number of successful advertising campaigns. Their With Love, Philadelphia XOXO campaign won a 2016 Destinations Council Destiny Award from the U.S. Travel Association. Their marketing approach also includes two popular websites—visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com—and 15 social media accounts.
“Many people and publications have called Philadelphia an overnight sensation,” says Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, Visit Philadelphia “That’s wonderful, but the fact is that many people, organizations and businesses have worked for many years to make Philadelphia the must-visit destination it is today. The good news is: It’s worked. Just ask the 650 million people who have visited since 1997.”
Visit Philadelphia is responsible for six straight years of record-breaking visitation to the region. In 1997, when they began marketing the area, leisure accounted for 14 percent of all hotel room rentals. In 2015, one out of every three hotel rooms--32 percent—were occupied for leisure purposes.
“Philadelphia went from stopover to sleepover,” says Levitz. “Visitors now choose to come here, stay overnight and infuse money into the region’s economy by touring museums, attending events, eating out and buying souvenirs. We know that when they stay in Philadelphia longer, they find more to fall in love with and more reasons to return over and over again.”
Philadelphia has many new developments set for 2017 that Visit Philadelphia will market to the public. These include the new Museum of the American Revolution and a reimagined LOVE Park. They also plan to up their promotional efforts around Historic Philadelphia in the next two years.