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The leisure and hospitality industry plays such a critical role in the overall success of the Pittsburgh region.
Allegheny County is a major travel destination. Pittsburgh is a mid-sized city with big-city amenities, and this appeals to a lot of travelers. It is vitally important that we continue to invest in Allegheny County’s tourism economy.
There are more than 12.6 million overnight trips to the Greater Pittsburgh region every year. In Allegheny County, visitor spending contributes to $6.57 billion in new dollars to the economy. How does that translate?
Travel and tourism in Allegheny County was on a strong upward trajectory prior to the incredible havoc caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. This growth was particularly evident in the business and sports meetings and events verticals.
In fact, in 2019, VisitPITTSBURGH hosted a combined 548 business and sports events that welcomed 442,062 attendees into Allegheny County and generating $242 million in direct visitor spend.
COVID-19 halted this growth right in its track. As of Aug. 3, 2021, VisitPITTSBURGH alone has experienced the cancellation or postponement of 518 business and sports events, representing approximately $376 million of direct visitor spend in the local market. This economic loss is greatly compounded by the vast number of smaller meetings, various competitive sports events, leisure festivals and numerous cultural performances which also were cancelled or postponed, as well as by the loss of spectators in Pittsburgh’s professional sports stadiums.
These lost opportunities directly impacted hotel occupancy in Allegheny County, which drastically dipped throughout the pandemic and therefore resulted in fewer dollars generated for tourism sales and marketing initiatives in Allegheny County.