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Connecting Philadelphia and Nearby Wineries

Philadelphia visitor characteristics and economic impact

Philadelphia has many tourist attractions, several of them historical as the city was founded over 300 years ago. According to Visit Philadelphia (2015), the top attractions in the city are Reading Terminal Market, Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Independence Visitor Center, Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Institute, Franklin Square, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps, National Constitution Center and Betsy Ross House. The city itself is a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage City (Philly.com, 2015). There are also attractions close to the city, such as the Valley Forge National Historical Park, Longwood Gardens and Winterthur Museum.

Philadelphia attracts a considerable number of leisure and business visitors. Table 12.1 shows the increase in visitors from 1997 to 2014.

Visitors come from all over the USA, though in 2013 the majority (57.7%) travelled from the Middle Atlantic region (Visit Philadelphia, 2014), which is inclusive of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey (US Census Bureau, n.d.a). Visitors from the South Atlantic region were 22.9% of total visitors, while 5.6% were from New England and 5.1% were from the East North Central region. The remainder of the US Census designated regions each contributed less than 2.5% (US Census Bureau, n.d.a).

The economic impact of the tourism industry on the city has been considerable. In 2014, the industry generated nearly $10.4 billion, or about $28.6 million a day, in the Greater Philadelphia area. There were 92,000 jobs related to visitor spending in the region, which produced $655 million in

Table 12.1. Increase in type of visitor from 1997 to 2014 (in millions). (From: Visit Philadelphia,

2015.)

Year

1997

2014

Total increase (%)

Domestic

26.66

39.67

48.80

Overnight business

1.39

2.10

51.11

Day business

2.48

2.57

3.63

Overnight leisure

7.30

13.90

90.41

Day leisure

15.50

20.99

35.42

taxes. In 2013, hotels in the region had a 67% occupancy rate for the 12.8 million rooms available. The total revenue for hotel rooms, based on the average daily rate of $130.35, was $1.12 billion (Visit Philadelphia, 2014). In Center City alone, the number of hotel rooms increased from 254,000 in 1997 to 948,000 in 2014, or by 273% (Visit Philadelphia, 2015).

Both business and leisure visitors have a great effect on Philadelphia’s economy. However, there may be a way to increase this effect not only on the city itself, but also on the surrounding areas. As shown in the previous section, San Francisco and Napa Valley have a mutually beneficial relationship. Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, home to many wineries, may be able to cultivate that same type of relationship. Demand for wineries could be increased, based on what wineries currently offer and what they could potentially offer visitors.

 
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