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.”
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