Buses brought approximately 1.4 million visitors to Philadelphia and the region last year, according to a just-released study of the region’s motorcoach business. The total economic impact of motorcoaches traveling to the region in 2010 was $271.6 million.
The study, “Economic Impact of Motorcoach Tourism in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” was unveiled on the cusp of the American Bus Association’s (ABA) Marketplace held in Philadelphia from Jan. 8-12, 2011.
The study was spearheaded by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB) and its countryside partners (Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau), along with the American Bus Association Foundation.
According to the study, the 1.4 million motorcoach visitors that traveled to the area in 2010, spent money on attractions, events, meals, shopping and hotel accommodations, providing significant economic benefits to local businesses, generating sales and excise tax revenues, and creating jobs.
Of the $271.6 million generated by the motorcoach business in the region in 2010, the largest percentage, $146.9 million, was spent on or by guests. Approximately $58.8 million was spent on retail purchases, $45.2 million on food and beverages, $35.7 million on attraction admissions fees and more than $7.3 million on accommodations.
In addition to this spending, motorcoach operators spent as much as $22.5 million in Southeastern Pennsylvania on operational expenses like fuel, parking and repairs. Another $33 million was estimated to be collected in state and local tax revenues from motorcoach based tourism in the area — $11.6 million from property taxes, $10.9 million from sales and use taxes and $3.4 million from income taxes. Additional funds were spent on bridges, equipment and other incidentals.
About 700 companies sent 31,100 motorcoaches to the Philadelphia region in 2010. The buses carried approximately 130,500 overnight guests and 1,292,000 day-trippers. The average overnight bus trip generates just more than $10,000, per trip, while the average day trip contributes about $5,000 to the local economy.
The million-plus bus tourists coming to the region support as many as 3,437 jobs in 113 different industries. Significantly, the jobs tend to be entry level jobs in the hospitality industry, such as positions in restaurants, taverns and the retail sector, which do not always require a degree and can be stepping stones to management positions.
About 40 percent of the motorcoach spending in the region was in Philadelphia County. Bucks County had the next largest amount of spending with 24 percent followed by Montgomery County with 13 percent , Delaware County with 12 percent and Chester with 11percent.