CENTER CITY - Philadelphia’s tourism industry is clinging to the good news from the CDC as a ray of hope. They are ready to welcome visitors and their money back to the city.
The city and its tourism board are making it very clear, they want tourists back.
"We need to welcome back our visitors. Visitors spend money in our restaurants, sleep over in our hotels, shop at our stores and buy tickets to sporting events, concerts and so much more," Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney declared.
The COVID pandemic shut down all of those Philadelphia staples last year and it hit the city tax coffers in a major way.
"Hundreds of millions of dollars! Tourism generates more than $300 million to the city’s tax base. This is taxes paid by tourists, not residents and we immediately saw that drop off," President and CEO of Visit Philadelphia Jeff Guaracino stated.
The city says Fourth of July and other events are a go, but in what ways depends on the evolution of the pandemic.
Ryan Todd is with Canopy Hotel in East Market in Center City. His industry was one of the hardest hit with thousands of cancellations almost overnight.
"Leading into 2020, in 2019, we had $1.7 million in group business and all of that cancelled, due to the pandemic," Todd explained.
"I feel like we didn’t have enough time to do everything we wanted!" exclaimed visitor Amy Porras.
Porras and her boyfriend picked Philadelphia to celebrate their anniversary, after Amy says she did tons of research into picking the right hotel. She said it checked all the boxes.
"Everything! Everything about it. The room, the service here was great. The happy hour was good. Everything was great, honestly. I have no complaints and the rooms were very clean!" Porras commented.
For the city to recoup all that lost money, it’s gonna depend a lot on out-of-towners like Amy and her partner.
"There’s just so much food, too! We love the food. That’s one of the biggest reasons why we came here," Porras added.
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