Center City Philadelphia is experience a stellar 2015 with its leisure tourism occupancy.

The first six months of the year, hotels have sold 416,000 room nights for leisure travelers—a 3.8 percent from the first half of 2014. And with the pope’s visit in September on the horizon, the area will hopefully result in a leisurely record year.

“Leisure has been a consistent producer for Philadelphia over the past two decades,” says Meryl Levitz, president/CEO, Visit Philadelphia. “These 2015 results prove that leisure travelers come here all year long—not just for events—because it’s always a good time to visit. Philadelphia has become a destination.”

Average daily rates for the three major segments also are up. Commercial increased 9 percent to $197 over the same time last year, group increased 5.5 percent to $186 and leisure increased 5 percent to $172.

Peter Tyson of PKF Consulting—a hospitality consulting and research form—expects area hotels to beat last year’s record for both leisure occupancy and overall occupancy. July through October typically yield the most visitors, and the pope’s visit is sure to be a boost to occupancy rates.

“The highest demand period for leisure in Center City typically has been the second half of the year,” says Tyson. “If that trend continues in 2015—and we expect that it will—leisure will break records again this year.”

In July, Chris Heeter, The Wild Institute and thousands of fans had to say goodbye to beloved speaker dog Tuu Weh.

With her fists closed tightly, Chris Heeter let her hands drop lightly to her sides, opening her palms widely and wildly. And with that small, simple motion, Heeter was unknowingly opening not just her hands, but her heart to a presence that would change her life as well as thousands of others.

 

Sheraton Austin Georgetown Hotel & Conference Center receives the AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping award for its cleanliness and condition, which ranked in the top 25 percent of the 27,000 AAA inspected properties.

 

Located in Austin, South Congress Hotel and Hotel Ella are positioned as the perfect summer venues. Each hotel has offerings for a wide array of events and can accommodate corporate and social functions alike.