Nutter, Street talk tourism They lauded the area's hospitality industry as an economic engine, and drew praise in return.

Posted: November 22, 2007

In speeches before members of the region's hospitality industry yesterday, Mayor Street and Mayor-elect Michael Nutter agreed on one thing: They like the hospitality industry.

Hospitably, the audience at the annual membership luncheon of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau gave each a standing ovation.

Street was being honored for his longtime support for the Convention Center and expanded tourism.

Organizers had said Nutter, who resigned in April as chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority board, would talk about the future of the tourism industry, but he did not make any specific proposals.

"I want to reaffirm my support for hospitality and tourism in Philadelphia," he told the crowd of more than 1,000 at the Convention Center. The event drew people who work to attract tourists or host them while they are here.

Street and Nutter praised tourism as a driver of regional economic expansion. "This is an industry that must grow," Nutter said. "The city of Philadelphia stands ready to work with all of you."

Nutter called for a focus on customer service and low costs. He said he would support efforts to attract more foreign tourists.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau said international visitation was 117 percent higher in the second quarter of 2007 than during the same period in 2006.

It also said it had booked 200 meetings that would generate nearly 450,000 total hotel-room nights for Philadelphia in 2008. In a news release last January, the bureau announced that 245 meetings and conventions, which would produce more than 482,993 room nights, had been scheduled for 2007.

Contact staff writer Stacey Burling at 215-854-4944 or sburling@phillynews.com.

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