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September 24, 2016

Philadelphia sees jump in international travelers

Tourism International
Carroll - Center City Skyscrapers Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Notice more tourists around lately? Makes sense. International visitors to the City of Brotherly Love increased by 3.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The boost came from travelers heading to Philly from "emerging markets" like China, Australia and India according to the PHLCVB.

The top five markets for overseas travelers last year were the U.K., Germany, China, India and France. The U.K., however, snagged the spot for the largest market – 4.5 percent more people from the country are coming to see Philadelphia and its landmarks.

“As a longtime Philadelphian, it is exciting to see increased interest from overseas visitors to our city,” said City of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement released Thursday. “As the first World Heritage City in the United States, we are proud to have visitors from across the globe experience our rich history, cultural attractions and diverse neighborhoods. We appreciate the valuable work the PHLCVB does to attract overseas visitors to Philadelphia.”

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There's no direct flight from the Asia Pacific to Philadelphia but still, travel from China increased by 15.7 percent. Travel also jumped from Australia by 11.8 percent and from India by 5.6 percent between 2014-15, according to the PHLCVB.

Those tourists spent a lot while they were here, too. Philadelphia saw about $982 million in economic impact from them, compared to $966 million in 2014. The PHLCVB said that the tourists were most interested in shopping, sighting seeing, checking out museums or the city's national parks or monuments.

On average, each traveler spent about $600 in Philadelphia shopping and sightseeing – that number doesn't include food and lodging. 

The latest announcement is just another on a growing list that confirms Philly's rising status as a destination city.

Lonely Planet gave the city the No. 1 spot on its 2016 list of "unexpectedly exciting places to see." Philly also showed up as the No. 3 spot on the New York Times' global list of "52 Places to Go in 2015."

The City of Brotherly Love was also home to the 2016 Democratic national convention – where the first woman to lead a major-party ticket was nominated – and Pope Francis' September 2015 visit to the United States.

As Kenney mentioned, Philadelphia also recently became a World Heritage City, the first U.S. city to snag the title, joining the rankings of places like Paris, Cairo, and Rome. 

“We are thrilled with the global attention the city generated by hosting the World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit as well as the Democratic National Convention," said Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism & Film at the Department of Community and Economic Development in a statement. "As an active partner in promoting tourism to the state, we support the PHLCVB and their continued efforts to expand Philadelphia’s global footprint and drive economic development through tourism.”