Visit Philly Celebrates 2 Decades Of Promoting Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– Celebrating 20 years, with one huge present.

The tourism marketing group has changed names over the years, but is now known as Visit Philly.

Now, they are celebrating 20 years of attracting visitors to Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs.

The group first started in 1996, as a three year experiment by then Mayor Ed Rendell and Governor Tom Ridge, as a way to bring people to the region.

“(They wanted) to see if Philadelphia could compete for leisure with big-league cities like Boston, New York, and DC,” said Meryl Levitz, President and CEO of Visit Philly.

At a press briefing Monday, they announced a $2-million grant that will be infused into further promotion of the city.

Levitz says they will focus on the ‘original city.’

“The city that went from the Delaware River, to 7th, and let’s say from Vine to Lombard. And to show off the bell, the hall, and all the attractions behind it,” she said.

Tourism in the region has grown more than 50 percent since Visit Philly first started.

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