Coronavirus not affecting tourism in Philadelphia: Officials

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia officials say they have not seen a dip in tourism despite the spread of coronavirus.

"We're open for business," said Jennifer Nagle, the executive vice president for the Independence Visitor Center.

The beautiful weather in Old City brought out many tourists Wednesday.

"We are working together on a combined effort and message that Philadelphia is open for visitation," said Nagle.

Despite the increasing cases of coronavirus, the hospitality industry in Philadelphia said they haven't seen any negative side effects. They said people are showing up to places like visitors center, buying souvenirs, in a clean public space.

"We have created additional hours for our cleaning staff, and we've also added an additional schedule of cleanings of the door handles," said Nagle.

Around the world, many conferences have had to be either canceled or postponed as attendees have voiced their concerns about coronavirus. But at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, organizers said they haven't had to cancel any upcoming events.

"We really enjoyed the show," said Eva Vaisman, from Los Angeles, California, who is visiting Philadelphia to see the Flower Show.

Vaisman and her friend traveled from the West Coast to see the Flower Show at the Convention Center and they said they're sanitizing their hands frequently.

"Washing our hands, that's it, keeping our hands clean," said Robin Little, visiting from Grants Pass, Oregon.

Some tourists Action News spoke with said they decided to take a train to Philadelphia instead of flying overseas for their vacation

"Train in, just cause. I mean airports, there's people from anywhere, everywhere," said Wendell Alston, visiting from New York City.

The Philadelphia Health Department said that the risk of infection from COVID-19 to the average Philadelphian is very low.

Some travelers Action News spoke with from Asia said they feel safer here in Philadelphia.

"I was told that wearing a mask is a very efficient way to protect yourself from coronavirus," said Jooseong Kim, visiting from South Korea. The CDC said you should wear a mask if you are ill.

The tourism industry says it will be monitoring the next two weeks which will be the true indicator to see if people keep their plans for spring break but so far they say they haven't had people calling with any cancellations or concerns.

Philadelphia health officials are evaluating one possible case in the city.

No confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been found in Pennsylvania and Delaware. In Bergen County, New Jersey, the governor has announced the state's first "presumptively positive" case.
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