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July 9, 2014, 5:30 pm

Group salutes tourism gains

The city’s success as a diverse convention destination was touted during the Multicultural Affairs Congress’ 17th annual recognition luncheon on Thursday.

Mayor Michael Nutter highlighted the economic impact of the city’s multicultural tourism market as he addressed more than 500 attendees who packed the Hyatt’s ballroom.

“As we look forward, Philadelphia’s multicultural tourism market share is only going to keep growing,” said Nutter.

“Over the next four years we expect to see approximately $76 million in multicultural tourism industry economic impact here in Philadelphia.”

Two major conventions are the 2016 Bicentennial Celebration of the AME Church, expected to generate an economic impact of $26 million and perhaps 30,000 visitors; and the 2012 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Convention.

Other future convention highlights include the Black Engineer of the Year Awards, the National Haitian Charismatic Congress, the North American South Asian Bar Association and Jack & Jill.

Due to the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s expansion, the city needs more hotels. With that in mind, Nutter called for the establishment of a minority-owned hotel.

“What I want to see is a hotel in this city built by minorities, owned by minorities, operated by minorities and supported by this entire community,” he stressed.

“The time has come not just to talk about jobs, not just to talk about contracts, not just to talk about goods and services, but equity and ownership — and this is an industry that will support that kind of activity right here in the city of Philadelphia.”

Held under the theme “Power, Pride and Progress,” the luncheon served as an occasion to honor industry and community leaders for their accomplishments in support of MAC’s mission.

“The individuals and organizations selected as awardees truly embody this year’s theme of ‘Power, Pride and Progress.’ They have been allies in maximizing multicultural hospitality opportunities for our region and represent the type of leadership that MAC celebrates,” said MAC executive director, Tanya Hall.

“We are extremely pleased to be honoring these recipients for their contributions.”

MAC posthumously recognized KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Karin Phillips with the Legacy Award. The newly created award honored Phillips for her contributions toward raising awareness about the activities and accomplishments of Philadelphia’s multicultural convention and hospitality community. Her work supported many of Philadelphia’s diverse hospitality initiatives and conventions, including the National NAACP Convention, the unveiling of the historic President’s House and the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival. Phillips died Sept. 13 following a brief illness.

Award recipients included Charisse R. Lilllie, president of the Comcast Foundation and vice president for Community Investment, Comcast Corp., Outstanding Recognition Award; El Sol newspaper, Share the Heritage Award; David Kong, president and CEO, Best Western International, Industry Appreciation Award; and local host committee, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture 2012 Convention, Bring It Home Award.

“At Comcast, diversity is really a way of life for us. We have done a number of things since we acquired NBC Universal to really move the ball and to really make sure that we as a company are faithful to the principles of diversity,” said Lillie.

She touted Comcast’s Joint Diversity Council and the company’s Internet Essential program that provides low-cost broadband service to underserved families.

Since MAC’s inception in 1987, Philadelphia has hosted more than 1,000 groups, resulting in an economic impact of more than $900 million.

MAC is a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Contact Tribune staff writer Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .