PITTSBURGH – At its 2013 Annual Meeting held today CONSOL Energy Center, VisitPittsburgh officials emphasized the economic impact of travel and tourism, highlighting that visitors to Allegheny County spend $5.3 billion and generate 38,000 jobs and $320 million in tax revenues.
Craig Davis, VisitPittsburgh president and CEO, announced that the VisitPittsburgh convention sales team booked 576 meetings and conventions for 2012 and beyond. This compares to 538 meetings and conventions booked in 2011. The team sold 223,481 room nights for future years. 2012 bookings represent an anticipated direct spending totaling $189 million.
"VisitPittsburgh is an economic development agency. Our focus is sales, marketing and public relations," said Mr. Davis, to a sell-out audience of nearly 300 attendees. "Today you'll hear many facts and figures that detail what we know instinctively…our city and its attractions are worthy of national and international attention. If sold and marketed correctly by the people in this room, we can all reap the economic benefits that come from visitation."
Among the major conventions, groups and events booked by VisitPittsburgh in 2012 are the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' 2018 Annual National Fall Meeting (10,110 room nights); Anthrocon 2015 Annual Convention (5,270 room nights); and the American Trucking Associations' 2014 National Truck Driving Championships (5,020 room nights). In addition, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that the USA Gymnastics Championships and National Congress and Trade Show have booked CONSOL Energy Center for 2014.
Pittsburgh hotels continued to perform at an exceptionally high level. The world's foremost source of hotel performance trends, Smith Travel Research, reports that Pittsburgh experienced the highest occupancy rate within its competitive set for the fourth consecutive year. Pittsburgh also outperformed the national averages for occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room.
The entire region benefited from VisitPittsburgh's aggressive public relations efforts. In 2012, VisitPittsburgh hosted 72 travel writers/broadcast media, which resulted in more than 1,500 story placements and $9.2 million in advertising equivalency value.
On the tourism front, VisitPittsburgh continued to market Pittsburgh through five successful advertising campaigns – Best of the World, Pittsburgh is Kidsburgh, Pittsburgh is Performing, Pittsburgh is Visual and Outdoor Recreation. Thirty-five percent of the room nights sold through visitpittsburgh.com and 36 percent of tourism package buyers were from key targeted markets. All told, web reservations were up 10 percent over 2011, and web tickets sales to area attractions and cultural events were up 21 percent.
VisitPittsburgh is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. The organization is dedicated to generating conventions, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.