Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide for backpackers and adventurers in the world, has chosen the City of Brotherly Love as it’s number one tourist destination in the U.S.
They swore higher-ups at the visitor’s center to secrecy and made them honor an embargo, but Meryl Levitz, CEO of Visit Philadelphia, said that they’d received word Tuesday of the good news.
“We’re not lonely anymore are we?” she laughed.
“After the papal visit that attracted a million people, the coming of the DNC, the release of the ‘Creed’ movie, the designation as [Philly] being the first – and still – only U.S. World Heritage city, and on top of that, having attracted a record 39.7 million visitors the year before, and having been named by The New York Times number three out of 52 places to go to in 2015, we’re getting a little used to be the popular kid at the dance," she said.
But Levitz said Visit Philadelphia, which handles all advertising, branding and communications for Philadelphia tourism, is not resting on its laurels anytime soon.
“I’m very happy that Philly is getting the recognition that it deserves. As we say here, Philly is great for sightseeing, but also for sight doing – for people who want to get involved. When you look at the Lonely Planet’s rationale, we can see why that works here.”
Natalie Nicolson, a spokeswoman for Lonely Planet, said the selection process for Best in the U.S. is based on which places are getting national attention at the moment, or, by contrast, overlooked and poised to shine.
“Our editors and writers recognized that the city's been experiencing buzz lately, with the visit from the Pope and being named the U.S.'s first and only World Heritage city last year,” Nicolson wrote in an e-mail.
“In addition to hosting the Democratic National Convention this year and celebrating the 40th anniversary of 'Rocky,' we wanted to draw attention to some of the up-and-coming aspects and great eats of neighborhoods like East Passyunk and Fishtown, as well, of course, to the historical core that has always made Philly a household name in travel.”