Philly encourages locals to be tourists in their own city and give the industry a boost

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The tourism industry has taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic, and it will be a slow recovery. 

Thousands have been forced to cancel or postpone their vacation plans, and states across the Northeast are mandating different re-entry or quarantining rules.

To give the tourism industry a friendly boost, Visit Philadelphia is encouraging the 4.1 million residents throughout the tri-state area to vacation in their own city.

Safety is key, and since many places are still closed or limited, Jeff Guaracino, Visit Philadelphia president and CEO, said they are inviting Philly locals to play tourist.

“One of the things that we all can do is to go out and really be a tourist in our own region,” he said. “When you think about the millions of people who live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, really in the greater Philadelphia region, Philadelphia is the big city.”

Guaracino said people are hungry to get out and eat al fresco at restaurants, book a hotel room, and take walks in the historic districts. Baseball games and indoor concerts are still off the table, but Guaracino said there's more to the City of Brotherly Love than that.

“The great outdoors, the trails, the history, everything that makes this region incredible — why 45 million people come from all over the world to come visit us is something that we have the opportunity to re-discover,” he said.

Museums, libraries and casinos will reopen on July 3 to limited capacity. Activities will just require a little more preparation than in the past.

“People are going to maybe have to do advance ticket sales. They may want to reserve their Saturday tours a little earlier, or to make sure they get a table at their favorite restaurants in advance, so it's going to take a little more planning,” he said.

Guaracino acknowledged that we’re all dealing with these safety measures for the first time, so we may have to take one step forward and two steps back to figure out how to go on vacations and celebrate milestones in our new reality.


Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before city health officials announced that Philadelphia will only enter a limited “green” phase on July 3. The city is scaling back its reopening plans, and activities like indoor dining and gyms will remain closed until further notice.