2011 was a strong year for the tourism industry in Pittsburgh, according to VisitPittsburgh, which hosted its annual meeting Wednesday. Industry leaders said the area continues to be a big draw for visitors from around the country and the world.
"We ended last year with 68.2% occupancy, and that compares against a national average of 60%, we did better than Washington, D.C., Chicago, Illinois and even Orlando, Florida," said Craig Davis, the newly-named president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh.
That occupancy rate is the highest in more than a decade. It comes thanks, in part, to a number of large conventions as well as sporting events and vacationers. Davis said 2012 is shaping up to be another very strong year.
"This year is going to be a banner year for Pittsburgh, last year was, and we're going to top it by at least 4% maybe more, anchored by such things as the NHL Draft, One Young World, The National Society of Black Engineers, things are looking good and they're anchor groups that help us grow occupancy and average room rate," said Davis.
All told, Davis said conventions last year resulted in more than $240 million in direct spending.