As the summer tourist season nears its official start, Philadelphia is campaigning an expanded tourist district, market itself to visitors as more than just the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Visit Philadelphia, the city’s tourism marketing arm, will roll out new programming, a new logo, a new website, and new advertising to push visitors beyond Sixth and Chestnut Streets, the intersection clogged with tourists visiting the city’s iconic historic landmarks.
A new map highlighting 24 attractions will move visitors south to Pine Street where Mother Bethel AME Church stands; west to the African American Museum on Seventh Street; east to the Delaware waterfront; and north to Franklin Square.
“Through research and just living, we found out that people who came to see the [Liberty] Bell and [Independence] Hall loved it, but were totally unaware that the waterfront was a few blocks away, and Old City was two blocks away,” said Meryl Levitz, CEO of Visit Philadelphia.
Peppered throughout the newly expanded tourist district will be more storytellers, historic characters, and a twice-daily puppet show featuring François, a French frog who sympathizes with the Colonial revolutionaries.
“People love neighborhoods. They don’t want to sightsee, they want to ‘sight-do,'” Levitz said. “So we want them to go another block and turn a corner, and go another block and turn the corner.”
The new tourism campaign, called “Historic Philadelphia,” is funded through a million-dollar gift from philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, matched by the state of Pennsylvania.
According to Visit Philadelphia, almost 40 million people a year visit the region every year, generating about $10 billion in economic impact.