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.”

Sendero Provisions Co. and Lone Star Brewing are hosting the first-ever River Rodeo, a music festival along the Guadalupe River.

 

The Nelson Family Life Foundation, established by the Nelson family, owners of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, has committed to donating $1 million over the next five years to Texas-based non-profit organizations. The first financial distribution will take place on Saturday, August 14, with "Sculpting the Future," and represents the foundation's first major

 

On September 1, over 1,500 businesses across the country illuminated their buildings with red lights to draw attention to the devastation that the live events and performance art industries have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.