Philadelphia lost $4.1 billion from the pandemic; tourism industry struggles to recover

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia lost a staggering $4.1 billion in economic impact from March to July, according to Visit Philadelphia.

The pandemic took a wrecking ball to multiple industries as they struggle to recover.

Newly released numbers show 111,000 of 191,000 total tourism and hospitality jobs in the area, were lost due to the pandemic.

In Philadelphia, hotel room bookings are down 72 percent and overseas travel dropped 80 percent.

"Right now, we don't know when business travel is going to start again," said Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association. "That's our highest rated segment, our group business is put off for the long term and the only thing we're seeing right now is the leisure customers."

There is still hope as hundreds of visitors packed popular Philadelphia tourist destinations on Saturday.

Some include the Rocky Statue, Independence Hall and Love Park.

"I drove 14 hours to get here instead of fly, and for that reason, I didn't want to get on a plane with the pandemic going on," said Joey Deas of Kansas City, Missouri.

Some visitors say they felt safe traveling despite the pandemic.

"Honestly, we kind of feel like we still need to live our lives," said Scott Gluckstern of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "So we were a little uncomfortable at first, but we feel ok about it."

Grose says it would be helpful if Governor Wolf allowed indoor events to have more than 25 people at a time.

"If that were lifted and the City of Philadelphia allows us to have catered events, that would enable us to bring our people back a lot sooner," said Grose. "Because there are a lot of weddings out there that are looking to book."
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