Strengthening Pittsburgh's Economy

Allegheny County's Tourism Improvement District

Every community must compete with every other community for its share of the world’s attention, customers and investment. VisitPITTSBURGH is leading the charge for Allegheny County.

We are raising awareness of our community and generating positive impressions, inspiring travelers to visit Pittsburgh and meet our neighbors and fascinating residents. 

The promotion of Pittsburgh is for the benefit and wellbeing of every person in our community. It is a common good. And, it is time to invest in this shared public interest to develop opportunities and enhance the quality of life for all Pittsburghers.

The Impact of Tourism

Allegheny County’s travel economy was valued at $6.5 billion in 2019 and supported more than 43,000 jobs. Throughout 2020 and 2021, our residents and elected officials witnessed the importance of these industry jobs and the business and tax revenues that the travel economy represents, as much of it was lost due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Pittsburgh community became acutely aware of tourism’s vital role in our region’s economic recovery and resiliency.

There continues to be a strong need for sustainable business revenues among a field of heightened, aggressive competitors. Our region’s comp set is investing in expanded sales and marketing initiatives to attract business across the leisure, business and sports tourism verticals. VisitPITTSBURGH’s goal is to increase our region’s short- and long-term competitiveness and attractivity. 

Funding the Tourism Industry

An increasingly common approach to raising additional funding for sales and marketing initiatives is the creation of a tourism improvement district (TID). A TID is a stable source of funding for marketing efforts designed to increase occupancy and room rates for lodging businesses. Funds raised through an assessment (not a tax) on lodging stays within a designated geographic area are used to provide services desired by and directly benefiting the lodging business within the district. 

TID-funded activities may include advertising, digital infrastructure, website operations, collateral development, research, visitor engagement, group sales lead generation for business and sports events, event development and strategic branding and marketing initiatives that benefit hotels by increasing demand for overnight visitation. 

Though the funds generated through the TID are managed by a county’s designated tourism promotion agency, they are governed by a board of directors which is made up of the businesses assessed within the district (hoteliers). The funds raised through the assessment must be used in accordance with the provisions of the board-approved plan. The money cannot be diverted to the county’s general fund or spent for any purpose other than those given within the plan.