The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), the official tourism promotion agency for Philadelphia charged with attracting visitors from overseas markets, shared increasing projections for overseas travel to Philadelphia in 2023. This year, overseas visitors are anticipated to consume one million hotel room nights, generate $444 million in direct spending and $726 million in economic impact on the region, according to Tourism Economics.
Philadelphia is also anticipating the return of leisure travelers from China following the country’s decision to reopen their borders and lift travel restrictions for the first time since the pandemic began. Pre-pandemic, Chinese visitors were the largest market by spend for international visitors coming to Philadelphia.
“The return of overseas visitors to the city will boost our post-pandemic recovery,” says Gregg Caren, PHLCVB president and CEO. “Philadelphia is primed and ready to welcome back even more international travelers in 2023. We are particularly eager to see the return of Chinese visitors, who have historically been a strong market for the city.”
These positive developments for 2023 follow a wave of improvement the industry experienced in 2022, when overseas visitors supported close to 3,000 full-time hospitality jobs and generated $531.3 million in economic impact.
In 2022, inbound overseas markets outperformed initial projections. Visitation from the United Kingdom recovered to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, while visitation from Germany grew to 75% of pre-pandemic levels. The Netherlands and Ireland arrivals even surpassed pre-pandemic visitation by 11% and 43%, respectively.
“To help rebuild this economic sector of overseas tourism, the PHLCVB continues to spotlight Philadelphia as a top leisure tourism destination,” says Svetlana Yazovskikh, PHLCVB vice president of global tourism. “As post-pandemic travel steadily increases around the world, we plan to extend Philadelphia’s reach, building awareness by welcoming international journalists, engaging tour operators, strategically positioning Philadelphia in advertising campaigns and by attending trade shows, among many other activations.”
Current marketing efforts focus on eight key markets: UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, India and China, with in-market representation in five of these countries as noted. In 2023, the PHLCVB plans to return to three additional markets, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia, to expand Philadelphia’s global representation.
Last year, the PHLCVB’s global tourism and communications teams embarked on international sales missions, connecting the city’s tourism suppliers to tour operators and hosting visiting journalists, all to put Philadelphia at the forefront of overseas travel. The teams showcased Philadelphia to more than 500 key media outlets and influencers from all over the world covering a wide range of topics including lifestyle, travel, art, food and adventure, highlighting the city as an all-encompassing destination.
In the spring, the PHLCVB team will travel to the UK, Ireland and India for sales missions, representing Philadelphia to these key overseas feeder markets. PHLCVB representatives in the UK, Germany and France will also be attending several in-market consumer trade shows and hosting travel agent trainings to further Philadelphia’s presence on the global stage.