Welcome America CEO talks Philadelphia’s economic growth

Welcome America
Michael DelBene, president and CEO of Welcome America Inc.
Welcome America Inc.

The future is certainly bright in the City of Philadelphia.

Local event organizers and key stakeholders have been planning and strategizing for the economic future of the City of Brotherly Love, which includes upcoming events that will put Philadelphia on a global stage. The city will welcome large-scale events during a historic time in the nation’s history.

“2026 represents the 250th anniversary of the founding of our nation. The signing of the Declaration of Independence,” said Michael DelBene, president and CEO of Welcome America Inc. “There are going to be an incredible amount of programs and events. At the same time, 2026, as a calendar year, will have a lot of amazing things happening that aren’t necessarily specific to the 250th year anniversary. But will lend themselves to the excitement of the year.”

Welcome America / Joseph Kaczmarek

Add in plans for the 2026 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the 2026 FIFA World Cup—which will both be held in Philadelphia—and DelBene projects a $1 billion lingering economic impact.

“I have been referring to 2026 as a once-in-a-generation confluence of global events,” said DelBene. “When you look at Wawa Welcome America (the largest July 4th celebration in the county), the FIFA World Cup hosting, and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, not only are they all happening in the same year, they’re actually all happening at the same time.”

DelBene believes if he and other key stakeholders are able to plan appropriately and harness the excitement leading to these events, the City of Philadelphia will become a much different place after 2026.

“The economic impact, the job creation, the improvements that are going to be made in our city in terms of infrastructure and investments…it’s going to have a lasting impact that will forever change the trajectory of Philadelphia,” he added.

Regarding extensive safety measures, Philadelphia is no stranger when it comes to hosting large-scale events. DelBene states he and his colleagues are always planning with the agencies tasked with public safety in Philadelphia—that includes the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, Philadelphia Police Department, and Department of Homeland Security.

For the upcoming fall and winter season events, DelBene encourages visitors and residents to attend the many unique events that are free to the public.

Welcome America Inc.

Two upcoming Welcome America events include the City of Philadelphia’s annual holiday tree lighting celebration on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. And on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m., the ‘Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade’ will return for visitors and spectators.

“Bringing people together that are celebrating community, culture, art, the humanities, dance, and food—all of those things that make Philadelphia communities vibrant…” said DelBene. “That’s the energy we want to focus on.”