2011 Tourism Spending Up in Allegheny County

State reports visitor spending up nearly 9 percent in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – According to a new report released last month by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, visitors who traveled to the Pittsburgh region because of conventions, business meetings, or simply for pleasure, created a $5.3 billion influx into the local economy in 2011. The state reports that overall spending by tourists in Allegheny County was up 8.9 percent in 2011 (the most recent year for which the study was conducted) over 2010.

Hotel taxes contributed $27.7 million to Allegheny County’s bottom line in 2011. Estimates indicate that without the tax revenue provided by the travel sector, Allegheny County households would need to pay an additional $617 in taxes just to maintain the current level of government services.

"This is certainly something to celebrate,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh, the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County. “It demonstrates the value of tourism as a critical economic driver for Pennsylvania, and the positive impact it makes on Pittsburgh’s economy."

It's also important to note that this industry supports 38,112 jobs in Allegheny County alone. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, meeting venues and transportation providers are among the local businesses greatly impacted by travel to the Pittsburgh area.

According to a report by Tourism Economics, "The Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism in Pennsylvania," the rise in visitor spending in 2011 reflected increases in all categories, with the transportation, lodging and recreation sectors posting the strongest increase. The amount spent per visitor grew 5 percent in 2011, as the increase in demand enabled travel industry providers to increase their prices.

"Our landscape, coupled with plentiful world-class amenities in the Pittsburgh region, offer memorable experiences for leisure and business visitors," said Mr. Davis. "We are very fortunate."

In 2011, travelers to the Pittsburgh region and Dutch Country spent far more on recreation than travelers to other regions in the state.

All told, there were 11.2 million overnight trips to the Pittsburgh region – this includes eight southwestern Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence and Washington. Specific figures for Allegheny County were not reported.

Tourism Economics is an independent tourism research and consulting firm.

VisitPittsburgh is the official tourism marketing promotion agency for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. It is dedicated to generating conventions, trade show and leisure travel business for the region.