June 12, 2018

2017 Brought Record Visitation To Philadelphia Region For Eighth Year

Five-County Region Welcomed 43.3 Million Visitors

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On June 12, 2018, VISIT PHILADELPHIA released an annual report showing an increase in all manner of North American leisure visitation to Philadelphia. Courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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In 2017, visitors to Greater Philadelphia spent $7.1 billion in the region, according to Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Longwoods International. Courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Pictured here are the steps at New York City's Penn Station, decked out with VISIT PHILADELPHIA's City of Brotherly Love advertising. Photo by C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest features VISIT PHILADELPHIA's XOXO. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced today that Greater Philadelphia—Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties—welcomed 43.3 million visitors from the U.S. in 2017. This marks the eighth consecutive year for record visitation and a 3% increase over 2016. Of those 43.3 million visitors, 38.2 million (88%) visited for fun.

An additional 502,000 people visited from Canada—Philadelphia’s #1 international feeder market—and 23,000+ visited from Mexico, for a total of 43.8 million North American visitors. (Source: Tourism Economics Global City Travel, provided by Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau) More details appear in VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s annual report, downloadable at visitphilly.com/annualreport.

Why The Increase In Visitation?:

Philadelphia is becoming increasingly popular across all trip types (individual leisure, groups and convention, commercial, and airlines and government), with leisure being the fastest growing segment. It’s also now a year-round destination that people visit consistently through all four seasons of the year.

“Philadelphia gets better and better each year thanks to new museums, restaurants, parks, events and other attractions popping up all the time,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “It’s our job to tout all of these assets to potential visitors, giving them plenty of reasons to visit over and over again.”

2017 Numbers:

  • Greater Philadelphia welcomed a record 43.3 million day and overnight visitors from the U.S.—that’s a 3% increase over 2016 and a 62% increase since 1997 when VISIT PHILADELPHIA began advertising. An additional 525,000 people came from Canada and Mexico.
  • Visitors spent $7.1 billion in Greater Philadelphia in 2017. This direct visitor spending:
    • Generated $11.5 billion (or $31.5 million every day) in economic impact
    • Supported 98,300 jobs
    • Generated $938 million in state and local tax revenue. That’s money that then supports priority programs such as schools and sanitation.

Sources: Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Longwoods International

The Leisure Story:

  • Of the region’s 43.3 million U.S. visitors, 38.2 million (88%) were here for a leisure purpose—meaning they chose to visit Philadelphia for fun.
  • Leisure was a major driver of hotel occupancy too. Of the 3.3 million hotel room nights occupied in Center City Philadelphia in 2017, 33% were individual leisure stays, with group and conventions coming in at 32%, commercial at 31% and airlines/government at 4%.
  • Center City hotels booked a record 1.1 million leisure room nights in 2017, an 8% increase from 2016 and a whopping 334% increase from 1997.
  • Friday and Saturday night stays—both indicators of a city’s health as a leisure destination—saw growth in 2017.
    • Averaged 82% occupancy on Friday night
    • Averaged a record 90% occupancy on Saturday night, the busiest night of the week for
      14 years running

Sources: Econsult Solutions, Inc. and CBRE Hotels

VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s annual report and event were supported by generous sponsorships from PNC (presenting sponsor), SugarHouse Casio (host partner), Where Philadelphia and KYW Newsradio.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.