2015 Convention Season Promises Big Returns for Pittsburgh

Published: 03/26/2015

PITTSBURGH - The meetings and conventions industry continues to contribute significantly to Pittsburgh's bottom line. Consider this: In 2014, the hotel tax collection amount in Allegheny County amounted to more than $31.6 million. This represents a nearly five percent increase over 2013 and a whopping 77 percent increase since 2005.

In addition to the influx of spending from primarily out-of-towners, the growing prestige of the Pittsburgh region gets a noticeable boost when high-profile events are hosted here. Just as Pittsburgh has previously experienced many moments in the international and national spotlight, 2015 is shaping up to be a stellar year for meetings and conventions.

"Thought leaders from around the world and the nation are coming to Pittsburgh this year, highlighting our place as an emerging center for sustainable development, research and manufacturing," Mayor William Peduto said. "The city, in partnership with VisitPITTSBURGH, is getting the attention it so fully deserves."

"As a full-service, award-winning sales and marketing organization, the VisitPITTSBURGH team continues to help build this region by attracting visitors, events, meetings and conventions to spur economic growth," said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. If it weren't for the taxes generated from tourists, each household in Allegheny County would pay $663 more in taxes to receive the same government services they receive now.

Mayor Peduto and Mr. Davis point to this list of 10 noteworthy events that are taking place this year in Pittsburgh that will help spread the word about the revitalized and dynamic city of Pittsburgh today:

Society for Science & The Public's INTEL Int'l. Science and Engineering Fair

• May 10-15
• 11,000 attendees
• 15,129 room nights
• $7.4 million est. direct spending

Intelligent Transportation Society of America Annual Meeting & Expo

• May 31 – June 3
• 2,000 attendees
• 1,168 room nights
• $875,765 est. direct spending

American Association of Woodturners 29th Annual International Symposium

• June 25-28
• 1,400 attendees
• 2,735 room nights
• $1.2 million est. direct spending

Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Convention

• June 28 – July 5
• 7,000 attendees
• 13,228 room nights
• $9.3 million est. direct spending

Anthrocon Annual Convention

• July 9-12
• 5,800 attendees
• 5,270 room nights
• $5.7 million est. direct spending

Veterans of Foreign Wars 116th National Convention

• July 18-22
• 9,000 attendees
• 11,078 room nights
• $9 million est. direct spending

Fraternal Order of Police Biennial National Convention & Expo

• August 9-13 • 6,000 attendees
• 16,551 room nights
• $7.3 million est. direct spending

Collinson Media & Events Connect Marketplace and Connect Sports Marketplace

• August 27-29
• 1,800 attendees
• 5,660 room nights
• $1.8 million est. direct spending

United States Submarine Veterans National Convention

• September 7-12
• 950 attendees
• 2,815 room nights
• $1.2 million est. direct spending

Tree Care Industry Association EXPO

• November 12-14
• 2,300 attendees
• 2,433 room nights
• $2 million est. direct spending

All told, these bookings account for 47,250 attendees, 76,067 room nights and $45.8 million in direct spending to the region.

These and hundreds of other groups are booking Pittsburgh because they are recognizing the city's amazing transformation and its abundance of desired attributes for hosting their meetings and conventions: A safe, walkable downtown; world-class attractions; numerous hotel options; a platinum and gold LEED-certified convention center with hundreds of eateries located nearby; 24 miles of riverfront trails and a world-class Cultural District.

In addition, Pittsburgh is hosting a wide slate of 2015 meetings and events underscoring its leadership in 21st Century development and design, with a focus on best practices that boost economic performance, city residents and the environment. They include visits by:

  • The National League of Cities/Urban Land Institute: National team of design experts visited the 178-acre Almono site in February, and issued revitalization plans for greater Hazelwood area
  • United States Global Leadership Coalition: Foreign policy group held panel discussions this month on Pittsburgh's place in the world economy
  • CEOs For Cities: Two hundred leaders from 25 cities coming to Pittsburgh in June for national meeting on cutting-edge practices for city success
  • Mayors' Institute on City Design: Eight mayors and design experts meeting in Pittsburgh in June with staff from National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Architectural Foundation to study national design and development issues
  • NLC Youth, Education & Families Council: National meeting to be chaired by Mayor Peduto in July with council issuing recommendations to municipal leaders around the United States on education and youth policy

Another major international conference coming to Pittsburgh will be announced soon.

"We are thrilled to have our public officials have ownership in growing the meetings and conventions industry in Pittsburgh," said Mr. Davis. "And we appreciate Mayor Peduto's support and recognition of the importance that this industry has on the city's bottom line."

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism promotion agency for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.