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Tourism as an Economic Engine for Philadelphia

Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) has been retained by Visit Philadelphia to quantify the level of visitation and impact of the tourism economy in the Philadelphia region for calendar years 2015-2018. To do so, ESI has combined numerous industry data sets and modeling techniques to produce reliable and granular estimates of industry performance and impact. ESI has also generated reports and summary context that help to provide context for industry performance and communicate its impact to key audiences.

To estimate regional visitation, ESI has refined existing index modeling techniques. This approach uses a variety of statistical inputs of industry performance, including hotels, attractions, transportation and employment to estimate visitation trends by season and segment. Modeling indicates that domestic visitation has been growing to the region for several consecutive years following the recession, and that growth has been driven by the overnight visitor segment, which has positive implications for visitor spending and industry impact.

Visitor spending is estimated as a function of growth in visitation and changing patterns in per capita visitor spending, which are derived through a broad “basket” of indicators on consumer behavior, industry performance, and economic measures like inflation. Visitor spending is then translated into economic impact using industry standard input-output modeling and into tax revenue impacts for state and local government. This analysis shows that tourism impact is on the rise, and employment data indicates that leisure and hospitality is among the fastest growing segments of the Philadelphia economy.

ESI has also used spatial analysis to track the distribution of tourism activity into Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, longitudinal analysis to benchmark Philadelphia’s tourism growth relative to national and peer trends over time, and other custom analyses that help shed additional light on important trends in the local tourism economy.

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