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Where do we go from here?
Was hosting the Republican National Convention worthwhile? 

Photo by John Fischer

The Republicans have come and gone and its a good time to look back on the last two years leading up to the 2000 Republican National Convention and ask some questions. How did we do? Was it all worthwhile? Where do we go from here? 

How did we do?

Immediate feedback from delegates, the press and even many protestors was that the city and the Philadelphia2000 organizing committee did very well indeed. Particularly praised was the cleanliness of the city, the friendliness of almost everyone and the transportation systems. In what is much needed positive press, the Philadelphia police have received praise for their handling of the multiple protests and demonstrations which occurred throughout the week. 

Areas which did receive some negative press and comments were the airport and particularly baggage handling and lost luggage. Also, some delegations were less than thrilled by their accommodations, although the larger and newer hotels received almost universal praise.

Was it all worthwhile?

Apparently city officials believe so. Mayor John Street has already expressed an interest in hosting the even larger Democratic National Convention in 2004. With former Mayor Ed Rendell as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the city is fortunate to have a friend in a very high place.

Many city businesses cite an upswing in business due to convention related activities. Several hotels, however, expressed disappointment that delegates, guests and media did not actually utilize all of the rooms that had been expected. Several of the larger hotels indicate that they had 10-30% of their rooms available during the week.

While the larger and more famous restaurants were well booked, many restaurants were relatively empty as regular area resident customers stayed away either due to expectations of large crowds or fear of crossing paths with one of the many demonstrations.

The city's efforts to spruce up for the convention paid off well. Many have commented that the city has never looked cleaner. All of the fountains at Logan Circle were operating during the conventions and flower beds appeared in places where usually only trash and litter can be seen.

Several major hotels were opened in time for the convention including the beautiful Ritz Carlton and the Loews. Others, such as the Hyatt Regency on Columbus Boulevard were delayed in their opening. 

Several major construction projects which many hoped early on would be completed in time for the Convention remain delayed or even cancelled. Construction on the Penn's Landing Entertainment Center, the new Gateway Visitors Center and the new Liberty Bell Pavilion have not even begun. The much anticipated Disney Quest project across from the Gallery has been cancelled. All that remains is a huge block long hole in the ground.

Where do we go from here?

As previously indicated, the city hopes to lure the Democrats in 2004 based on the success of the Republican National Convention. They also hope that other major conventions will see what the city has to offer and that bookings by major conventions will increase for many years to come. 

Favorable national and world press and media coverage will also very likely reflect in an increase in tourism. Many visitors were pleasantly surprised to find that Philadelphia, although a large northeastern city, is very much different from New York City. In terms of accessibility of activities and entertainment, cleanliness, friendliness and affordability, Philadelphia has much to offer.

The Republican National Convention brought together city workers, politicians of both parties, as well as over 10,000 volunteers to make sure that the region put its best face forward to the world. The Convention showed that when the region and its citizens work together, Philadelphia can indeed be the best city in the United States. Over 40,000 visitors have left the city believing that the city's promotional slogan is not just lip service. Philadelphia is indeed "The place that LOVES YOU BACK".

If our coverage of the Republican National Convention has made you think about a visit to Philadelphia, we have many articles and Subject pages that will help you plan your trip. Here are some additional resources on the Net which you will find useful.

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to its members' growth and prosperity. They are an advocate for business and are committed to helping members compete regionally and globally by providing them with outstanding programs, benefits and services.

Pennsylvania Convention Center
The official site of one of the largest and newest convention centers in America which serves as the annual location of the world famous Philadelphia Flower Show and most recently PoliticalFest, the World's Fair of Politics.

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the welfare of Philadelphia by bringing an increasing number of conventions and leisure travelers to the city.

Philadelphia Vacation and Travel Planning Guide
The official site of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the five great counties of this region.

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