Unclear is how well this region's tourism, arts/culture and hospitality industry will fare as the public finds itself with fewer discretionary dollars and corporate travel spending tightens.

According to some estimates, the U.S. hotel business is likely to drop as much as 20 percent through 2009.

PKF Hospital Research in Atlanta is projecting an average occupancy rate of 58.3 percent for U.S. hotels in 2009 - the lowest in 20 years.

In the arts and culture community, the big unknown is how the stock market's havoc on individual and foundation portfolios will affect donations. The nonprofit sector is a sizable part of the local economy, accounting for 40,000 jobs and $158 million in taxes, said Peggy Amsterdam, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Nancy Burd, a consultant to the arts community, said she had been advising clients "to rethink your business model . . . decide what's profitable and what isn't." That may result in the extinction of some groups and mergers of others, she said.

Those still in business a year or two from now will be better off, she said.


- Diane Mastrull