Center City Philadelphia is experience a stellar 2015 with its leisure tourism occupancy.

The first six months of the year, hotels have sold 416,000 room nights for leisure travelers—a 3.8 percent from the first half of 2014. And with the pope’s visit in September on the horizon, the area will hopefully result in a leisurely record year.

“Leisure has been a consistent producer for Philadelphia over the past two decades,” says Meryl Levitz, president/CEO, Visit Philadelphia. “These 2015 results prove that leisure travelers come here all year long—not just for events—because it’s always a good time to visit. Philadelphia has become a destination.”

Average daily rates for the three major segments also are up. Commercial increased 9 percent to $197 over the same time last year, group increased 5.5 percent to $186 and leisure increased 5 percent to $172.

Peter Tyson of PKF Consulting—a hospitality consulting and research form—expects area hotels to beat last year’s record for both leisure occupancy and overall occupancy. July through October typically yield the most visitors, and the pope’s visit is sure to be a boost to occupancy rates.

“The highest demand period for leisure in Center City typically has been the second half of the year,” says Tyson. “If that trend continues in 2015—and we expect that it will—leisure will break records again this year.”

After almost 20 years of vacancy, the Cook County Hospital in Chicago will be put to use once again. A $150 million adaptive reuse project restored the historic, 106-year-old hospital, which has become a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel, as well as medical offices, a museum, a food hall and more. While the opening is multi-phased, the hotels are scheduled to open in late July.  

 

Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in

 

Due to COVID-19, non-essential travel was, or has been, banned for months. Long anticipated trips and in-person gatherings were canceled and people have adjusted to the new normal: staying at home and meeting over Zoom. However, states have been slowly lifting restrictions, and non-essential travel will soon be happening across the country again. However, some may not be as comfortable with the thought of traveling as they were before the pandemic.