Vacancy sign still on in city

Mayor Michael Nutter touted the construction of a new Hilton Home2 Suites Hotel adjacent to the Convention Center yesterday as a part of the city’s effort to accommodate increased tourism and the draw of a newly expanded convention center.

His announcement underscored the importance of Philadelphia’s hospitality industry, which employs 56,000 people across the city and supports economic development by servicing thousands of tourists, residents and businesses.

“Our hospitality sector has perfect synergy with all the other diverse job sectors in the city because most hold meetings, conferences and conventions,” Nutter said.

“This hotel will help to ensure the hospitality industry continues to play a central role strengthening our regional economy.”

Overnight visits to the city are up 66 percent since 1997, according to the Greater Philadelphia Tour-ism Marketing Corporation.

“To cap off hotel development, we would ideally add another anchor convention hotel to meet the needs of the expanded Convention Center, which has more than doubled in size and is now able to host two conventions simultaneously and mega trade shows,” said Jack Ferguson, president of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In addition to rooms, the Hilton project will also provide over 200 jobs in construction, retail and hospitality.

“I don’t see this anywhere else,” said Sen. Larry Farnese. “This combination of a public-private partnership to put people back to work is what the mayor’s vision is for the city and what my vision is for the city.”

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