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August 29, 2014, 6:16 pm

City marketing board touts tourism growth

Leisure travel is booming in the region, according to a new report by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

The report revealed that the region welcomed 38 million domestic visitors for 2011.

“We thank the city, state, civic organizations and everyone for making the investment in the attractions and amenities that have made Philadelphia a much better place for visitors,” Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of GPTMC, said during its annual hospitality luncheon held at the Barnes Foundation.

Tourism is a major economic driver for the region. According to the report, visitors to Philadelphia generated an economic impact of $9.6 billion for 2011 and supported 86,000 jobs. Levitz noted that overnight trips to the region have grown and are up by 71 percent since 1997, when GPTMC started marketing the region as a tourism destination. Last year, visitors generated $315 million in tax revenue for Pennsylvania and $285 million for regional municipalities.

The 28-page report also notes that Philadelphia’s hotels outperformed the national average in 2011.

During the hospitality event, Levitz touted the city’s first coordinated visual marketing campaign — With Art Philadelphia. Launched in May with 14 collaborative partners, the campaign showcases Philadelphia as a visual arts powerhouse.

The two-year, $2 million campaign leverages the energy of the Barnes Foundation opening in order to generate sustained attention on one of the world's great art destinations, draw new audiences and spur overnight stays from visitors worldwide. The campaign highlights the city’s visual arts collections, Benjamin Franklin Parkway museum district, the city’s gardens and the city’s art-focused colleges. As the campaign expands, it will aim to include even more art venues, programs and events in neighborhoods throughout the region.

“With the help of many partners we’re aiming to put the city’s art scene on the map where it belongs with the Barnes as the tipping point to give us that opportunity to showcase what was always there,” says Levitz.

She also highlighted the success of the With Love, Philadelphia XOXO Campaign which seeks to increase visitation to the region. The campaign’s slogan was recently recognized by Frommer’s as one of the 15 best in the tourism industry.


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