Philadelphia tourism officials question whether gun violence outbreak will impact ability to attract visitors – CBS Philly

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Following the July 4 shooting on the Ben Franklin Parkway, tourism officials are wondering how much the city can take before people no longer want to visit Philadelphia.

“We are not going to crawl into a shell and hide away from the United States of America,” said one tourist. “It’s a big country and we want to go see it.”

Tourists to the famous Rocky Steps say they are unfazed by the ongoing gun violence in Philadelphia.

“You can’t let a few bad eggs ruin a city,” said Emilio Locilento, who is from Boston. “I come from far away and there are a lot of things happening all over the world, and I can’t judge these cities. I can’t.”

Photographer HughE Dillon was in the crowd on Monday evening to watch the fireworks. He also lives within walking distance of the scene of the shooting. He says the police response reassures him.

“The fact that they were able to clear the boardwalk so quickly this way makes me very confident for the future, for our future events,” Dillon said.

While tourists and some locals say they are undeterred by the city’s violence, leaders say it could impact the city’s ability to attract business.

“COVID-19 is a distant memory and public safety is our new issue,” said Ed Grose, president of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.

Grose says when events like the Parkway shootings happen, it gives the city a black eye.

“Visitor and resident safety should be the reality and the expectation,” Grose said. “We can’t keep doing what we’re doing and expect different results.”

At the Dell Music Center, they’re gearing up to host a Gladys Knight concert this week. They say they tightened their security after the Las Vegas shooting. Among other measures, they now have metal detectors and control bags.

“Can we prevent everything? Absolutely not, but what we’re trying to do is make sure we have eyes and ears where there might be a problem,” said Susan Slawson, general manager of the Dell Music Center.

The city says anyone who was on the boardwalk and left belongings can email [email protected] to retrieve them.

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