PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tourism is making a comeback in Philadelphia. The local economy is getting a boost from the Fourth of July and the easing of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s expected to be a busy weekend in Philadelphia as people travel for the holiday, and city officials say it could not have come soon enough.READ MORE: Thursday's Storms Break Record For Most Tornadoes In Tri-State Area In Single Day
“We got some tips. We can’t wait to try water ice that’s native to Philadelphia,” Latosha Harrison, a visitor, said. “We can’t wait to try Philly cheesesteaks and what’s the third item, we want to try soft pretzels.”
For visitors, there’s a long list of reasons you should want to visit America’s birthplace.
“It’s a beautiful city. The history, the buildings so far, we’re very impressed,” Luis McGoldrick said.
Luis and Krista McGoldrick are visiting from south Florida. They are one of the thousands that chose Philadelphia as a destination as the economy rebuilds and recovers in the wake of COVID-19.
“Tourists are flush with cash. They want to go and have a great experience,” Visit Philadelphia CEO Jeff Gustavo said. “They want to go out and travel again and their wallets are full.”
Gustavo says so far, the city is doing better with tourism than major cities nearby.READ MORE: Philadelphia Announces Phase 2 Of Street Cleaning Program Running Through November
“Every city has different challenges, but for Philadelphia, because we’re accessible, we’re affordable, we have great experiences from Valley Forge to Bucks County to right here in the historic district,” Gustavo said.
And what’s good for Philadelphia is good for Pennsylvania.
CBS3 caught up with Gov. Tom Wolf ahead of the holiday as he was handing out ice cream to residents and tourists.
“There’s real optimism that even though we’re coming out of 15, 16 months shut down, I’m really optimistic,” Wolf said.
With lifted restrictions — and large crowds — tourists say they have the experience to brag home about.
“Missouri is a little boring compared to this,” one traveler said.
Eyewitness News asked Gustavo if businesses outside of Center City were included in those rebounding after the pandemic. He says the goal is to rebuild with equity and inclusion and social media is encouraging people to venture out.MORE NEWS: Body Found In Northeast Philadelphia Positively Identified As Missing Woman Casey Johnston: Sources
CBS3’s Jasmine Payoute reports.