Hotel Online  Special Report

Philadelphia Leisure Tourism Jumps 39% Compared
to 8% National Average; Convention Center Bookings
Down 26.4% from 2002 to 2003
PHILADELPHIA, May 12, 2004 - The Philadelphia region has experienced steady growth in leisure tourism, with leisure visitors staying longer and spending more in the five-county region, according to a new research study.  Compiled by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) with data from seven independent organizations, the report entitled Greater Philadelphia Tourism Monitor, documents, for the first time, the economic impact of leisure tourism marketing but warns that future market expansion will hinge on continued and increasing investment.

The study reveals that leisure tourism grew 39.5% between 1997 and 2002 (compared to an 8.8% growth in domestic leisure travel overall), and hotel room night revenue grew 55% between 1995 and 2003 - from $489 million to $775 million.  Visitor spending rose from $78 to $98 per day, a 26% increase, between 2001 and 2002.  And, visitors are staying longer, from 1.8 days in 1990 to 3.6 days in 2002.

Perhaps the most significant development in the report is the analysis of the economic impact of investment in tourism marketing.  Each $1 spent on tourism marketing returned $185 in direct, indirect and induced regional spending, of which $41 represented increased wages and salaries, according to an analysis by Econsult Corporation of three GPTMC tourism campaigns.  (Note: Direct spending is what visitors spend in the region, indirect spending is what businesses spend to run their businesses and induced spending is what their employees spend during their daily lives.)

"More visitors mean significant dividends to the region in the forms of increased economic activity, personal income, employment and tax revenues," says Stephen P. Mullin, senior vice president and principal of Econsult Corporation.  "The recommendation of the report is to increase investment in Philadelphia tourism marketing to $50 million over the next five years."

"Travel and tourism generates $9 billion in economic impact and employs 125,000 people in the Philadelphia region," says GPTMC Board Chairman Manny Stamatakis.  "This report confirms that investment in tourism marketing pays big dividends and demonstrates why we must continue to invest to maintain and grow our competitive position."

At issue, according to the report, are factors threatening future tourism marketing initiatives, including increasing advertising costs, higher tourism spending by competitors and a decrease in the Philadelphia County hotel tax revenue, which comprises 40% of GPTMC's marketing budget.  That decrease is driven by current challenges at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (where bookings were down by 26.4% from 2002 to 2003) and heavy hotel discounting on Internet Web sites such as and

The report identifies leisure tourism as the only growth travel segment in the region in the near future.  Assuming continued investment in marketing, by 2007, one in three hotel room nights or 32% in Center City could be occupied by leisure tourists, up from 26% this year and 15% in the 1980s, according to Horwath Hospitality Advisors.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Monitor was compiled in May 2004 by GPTMC, using data released between 1995 and 2003 from seven independent organizations: Econsult Corporation, Smith Travel Research, Horwath Hospitality Advisors, DK Shifflet and Associates, Longwoods International, Parter International and PLACES.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), Philadelphia's regional tourism marketing agency, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to building the region's economy and positive image through tourism and destination marketing. 


Greater Philadelphia Tourism
Marketing Corporation

Also See: In Last few Months 14 Major Conventions Have Canceled Plans for Pennsylvania Convention Center; Most Groups Cite Labor Costs as Reason / January 2003

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