Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl joined Visit Pittsburgh in declaring May 11 Travel and Tourism Day, though Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald went a step further and declared the week of May 5-13 as Tourism Week, to coincide with National Tourism Week.
"Tourism is one of those things — it's a huge industry, it's a $4.8 billion industry in Allegheny County, and our issue is, we're kind of in the background. Unless you're looking at a hotel or the convention center, you really don't know that there are tourists here spending a lot of money," said Craig Davis, President and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh.
Tourism Day was marked by a visit from the "Vote Travel" tour bus from the U.S. Travel Association. It's on a nationwide tour in an effort to encourage elected officials to support the travel industry. It's not a terribly hard sell. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said the role of tourism should not be downplayed.
"As we look to the future and what this city can be, tourism is a critically important part of that. We continue to transform our image as America's most livable city by bringing people into our town," said Ravenstahl.
Visit Pittsburgh used the tourism event to highlight numerous upcoming events happening in the region, including the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh Pride Week, National Hockey League Draft, and Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta + Fourth of July Celebration.