Sorry Millennial Travelers! Visit Philly’s New Target for 2020 is Boomers

They have all the money, and they’re looking to travel.

boomer travel

Be on the lookout for more boomer travel to Philadelphia in 2020. Illustration by Hawk Krall

Millennials? Relax. Gen Z? Sit this one out. While you’re yukking it up on Twitter with your pithy little hashtags, 2020 is shaping up to be, wait for it, the year of the baby boomer — at least where Visit Philadelphia, the city’s tourism board, is concerned.

“Boomers are traveling, doing more with their friends, adult children and grandchildren, and are looking for adventure,” says Visit Philly CEO Jeff Guaracino. “They’re looking for the sorts of experiences Philadelphia has to offer.”

He should know. Under Guaracino’s watch, and thanks to award-winning 2019 Visit Philly campaigns designed to lure Latino and LGBTQ travelers, the city was anointed a global must-see destination per National Geographic Traveler’s annual “Best Trips” list. In 2020, however, look for campaigns targeting an older set.

Boomers are the ones with all the money, after all, and it’s not even close: They’ve amassed 57 percent of America’s wealth, compared to Gen X (16 percent) and millennials (three percent). In the long term, this inequity may lead to inter-generational revolt. In the near term, though, it means … leisure travel.

To woo these spendthrifts, Visit Philly will switch up its media strategy a touch. “Who’s on Facebook as opposed to Instagram? Who’s still reading newspapers? Who’s watching traditional television networks?” asks Guaracino. The answer, of course: boomers. And because that set loves museums, galleries, and our reputation for great chefs, Visit Philly will play all that up in its promotions. “The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s expansion in September will be a huge part of our marketing,” says Guaracino, as will Visit Philly’s relationship with the James Beard Foundation, set to deepen in 2020.

All of which means that Philly should brace for an invasion of fanny-pack-wearing Grace and Frankie fans this year. Can an early-bird special at Vetri be far behind?

Published as “Okay, Boomers!” in the February 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.