Philly Saw a Record Number of Tourists Last Year (Again)

Our top feeder country was Canada — guess they didn’t see what we said about poutine.

Photo by HaizhanZheng/iStock

Philadelphia drew a record number of tourists for the eighth consecutive year in 2017, with 43.3 million visitors traveling to the City of Brotherly Love.

According to VisitPhilly’s 2018 annual report, 88 percent of those tourists said they came to Philly for leisure – which, of course, comes as no shock to us at all. In what other town can you chow down on a cheesesteak sandwiched between two slices of pound cake, take yoga classes alongside baby goats, and converse with a modern-day iteration of Ben Franklin?

The report states that visitors collectively spent $7.1 billion in the region last year, generating $938 million in state and local tax revenue and supporting more than 98,000 jobs. Overall spending by tourists grew by nearly 5 percent compared to 2016. The breakdown of where all that money went is highlighted in this handy little graphic:

Photo: VisitPhilly.

The top feeder market for Philadelphia tourism from an international perspective was Canada, with 500,000 visitors last year. Guess they didn’t get the memo that we hate poutine. No matter, we’ll gladly take your money with the hockey design here!

As for why Philly has become such a hot spot to visit over the past decade, tourism officials point to our ever-evolving landscape and lifestyle options that keep visitors coming back for more. “Philadelphia gets better and better each year thanks to new museums, restaurants, parks, events and other attractions popping up all the time,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VisitPhilly. “It’s our job to tout all of these assets to potential visitors, giving them plenty of reasons to visit over and over again.”