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Indian Visitors Spent $62 Million; Third Highest Market For Overseas Spending In Philadelphia

India continues to be a rapidly growing overseas market and delivered 53,000 visitors to Philadelphia in 2017. The market fell just short of the 3rd-ranked Germany, and was the 4th ranked market for overseas visitation. Compared to other key overseas markets, India stood out with a particularly high proportion of business travel (22%), but conference and education travel were among growing interests.

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The Global Tourism department at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) promotes leisure travel to Philadelphia in 23 overseas countries. The PHLCVB works with a network of seven representative markets, and with specific markets directly. The Bureau is dedicated to increasing Philadelphia’s position as a leading destination for overseas visitors. “We do this by marketing and selling to tour operators and travel agents and working through overseas international media to market to business and leisure travellers,” explained Jim DePhilippo, International Tourism Sales Manager, who oversees tourism sales in India and the Middle East, as well as domestic group sales. 

When we asked how important is India market for Philadelphia? He said, “India continues to be a rapidly growing overseas market and delivered 53,000 visitors to Philadelphia in 2017. The market fell just short of the 3rd-ranked Germany, and was the 4th ranked market for overseas visitation. Visitors from India spent $62 million in market, making them Philadelphia’s 3rd highest market for overseas spending. Compared to other key overseas markets, India stood out with a particularly high proportion of business travel (22%), but conference and education travel were among growing interests.”

However, Philadelphia is able to overcome challenges faced by Indian visitors. “We are in fact able to accommodate a wide variety of budgets and have options available to satisfy any dietary preferences, which we know is important to this market segment. With numerous sales calls throughout the year led by our rep company in India, Sartha Global Marketing LLP, in which they present our destination to tour operators and travel agents, the PHLCVB will again be in-market in September, promoting the destination in three key Indian cities during the Brand USA Sales Mission. In 2019, the Fashion District of Philadelphia will be a focus as a key shopping destination in the Center City neighbourhood of Philadelphia, Philadelphia is home to tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes, and this entertainment complex will provide a new, indoor experience for visitors to purchase their favourite goods at a discounted price,” he said.

In 2019, there is potential for new opportunities for incentive business coming to Philadelphia, expected to see an overall increase in visitation.

Philadelphia is a special destination for MICE. Jim said, “We are highlighting a wide variety of venues and opportunities available to the incentive market specifically.  Being the largest city along the East Coast after New York, we offer a cosmopolitan and dynamic destination with top notch hotels, restaurant, museums and entertainment. Top special event venues include the National Constitution Center, Museum of the American Revolution, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, One Liberty Observation Deck, and Xfinity Live.”

Cited by Vox and Redfin as one of the top most walkable cities in the U.S., most Philadelphia hotels are within walking distance to all of the city’s most popular attractions. There are over 40 hotel brands in the city, ranging from small boutiques to big names. 

Philadelphia is experiencing hotel expansion. The most recent hotel to open is the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Upcoming openings include the Four Season Hotel Philadelphia at the Comcast Technology Center, which will provide guests with sky-high views of the city. Other anticipated openings in 2019 include W Hotel & Element and the Pod Philly Hotel. 

Philadelphia is regularly featured in American films, and would be a popular destination for those familiar with mainstream American movies. Popular movies filmed in Philadelphia include Rocky, Silver Linings Playbook, Philadelphia, Trading Places, and several movies directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Several tour operators offer movie-based tours to see all of the sites featured in the movies.

Indian travellers can easily access Philadelphia via non-stop flights to New York (Philadelphia is a 1.5 hour train ride from Manhattan), and one-stop service in Doha on Qatar airlines. Qatar offers daily nonstop service from the Qatari capital to Philadelphia. Compared to other key overseas markets, India stood out with a particularly high proportion of business travel (22%), but conference and education travel were among growing interests.


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