I attended the “State of the City: See What’s Developed” presentation/panel discussion on Tuesday, April 26, expecting to find out what new developments are happening in the city (i.e. new hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc.) While I did learn about those, I learned something else, just as, if not more important. I learned what these new developments in the hospitality industry mean to the region’s economy by creating jobs for its residents and generating billions of dollars in economic impact.
The program was presented by the Center City Proprietors Association (CCPA) and Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB). It was sponsored by these two organizations, as well as the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, PPRA, and the Philadelphia Business Journal and was held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
More than 200 people attended the panel discussion, which was moderated by Craig Ey, editor of the Philadelphia Business Journal. The panel consisted of Jack Ferguson, president & CEO of PCVB; Meryl Levitz, president & CEO of Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC); Ahmeenah Young, president & CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA); and Alan Greenberger, FAIA, deputy mayor for planning and economic development and director of commerce, City of Philadelphia.
Some of the things that I took away from the presentation were:
- The Convention Center and its expansion is a major catalyst for generating economic impact to the city and creating jobs.
- A dozen city organizations are in discussions about developing a collaborative “Hospitality University” to train the next generation of frontline hospitality workers.
- Hospitality and tourism has replaced manufacturing as one of the dominant “industries” in the region.
- Give people a reason to come to Philadelphia (new attractions, more meeting space) and they will come. Philadelphia is an affordable destination and an attractive place to live, work, and play.
- Philadelphia has 30 jobs for every 100 residents as compared to San Francisco, with more than 70 jobs for every 100 residents, and Washington has 115 jobs for every 100 people.
The moral of the story? Hospitality means jobs: whether its entry level, mid-level or executive; from cab drivers, to hotel staff, to those of us PR types who help promote Philadelphia as a world-class destination.
The presentation was followed by a tour of the newly expanded center. All I can say is WOW! It’s “ginormous!” Looking out of the windows over Broad Street, I can just imagine what it will be like once the Lenfest Plaza is completed!
This blog post was written by PPRA member, Ellen Kornfield. Ellen is a former communications manager for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is currently a communications/PR consultant and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.