Energy Industry Boosts Convention Business in Pitt

PITTSBURGH – The hospitality industry in the Pittsburgh region is reaping great benefits from the Marcellus Shale boom in Western Pennsylvania. Case in point is the number of meetings and conventions planned here by energy-related industries. In addition, other technology-related conferences holding conventions in the city are experiencing attendance boosts because of the resources available to offer energy-related sessions relevant to their fields.

From the Marcellus Shale industry alone, VisitPittsburgh has hosted 13 conferences since 2009 and has an additional seven conferences booked through 2014 for an estimated direct spending total of $35.5 million.

This week, Pittsburgh is hosting the HART Energy Publishing DUG East Conference and Exhibition at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The estimated attendance is 3,000, with over 300 exhibitors, the highest attendance of the eight total that HART has held in Pittsburgh since 2009. This conference alone will generate an estimate of $1.4 million in direct spending and 3,250 room nights.

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) exceeded their early attendance estimates, with 5,900 attending its annual conference last month at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The conference could prove to be one of Pittsburgh's largest conferences of the year and could have been the largest gathering in AIChE history, if not for the impact of Hurricane Sandy on travel plans. When asked to what factors are attributed to the attendance boom, Jeff Wood, meetings director for AIChE said, "The energy-related resources available in the region allowed us to increase the number of technical sessions offered; Pittsburgh's geographic proximity to universities helped to draw more student delegates; and finally, Pittsburgh's reputation as a world-class destination, were all contributing factors to the success of the convention and key factors in our decision to hold it here." It is estimated that AIChE conference-goers spent more than $8 million during their time in Pittsburgh.

In addition to AIChE, VisitPittsburgh's convention sales team booked several conferences in 2012 that benefitted from the strong energy sector in the region, including the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania, the American Wind Energy Association and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

"We expect the energy sector and related industries to continue to be strong convention customers for the foreseeable future," says Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh. "The region's strength and resources in Marcellus shale, coal, research, green technologies and the engineering fields, coupled with our great convention facilities and services, continue to generate demand for meetings in Pittsburgh that strengthen our local economy."

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