Visitors to the Pittsburgh area contributed $5.3 billion to the local economy in 2011 (the most recent year for which the study was conducted), according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. Overall spending by visitors to Allegheny County was up 8.9 percent over 2010.
“The money that we are supplying into the local economy is a substantial amount, and that helps to provide government services for people here locally, provided through people that don’t live here,” said Craig Davis, President and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh.
Tourism supports 38,112 jobs in Allegheny County through hotels, restaurants, attractions, meeting venues, and transportation providers. Davis said there are numerous reasons people visit Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.
“We have a fantastic convention product, our convention center is one of the nation’s best. Also, people come in to experience the vast cultural and arts amenities that we have. There are so many things to do from a visitor standpoint. But on top of that, this is a big business community and visitors are drawn in through business means.”
All told, there were 11.2 million overnight trips to southwestern Pennsylvania; the data includes eight counties:
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office said travelers to this region spent far more on recreation than travelers to other regions in the state.
Davis said the upward movement of visitors is expected to show in 2012 numbers, and added 2013 is also shaping up to be a strong year for tourism. He said many events are planned that will draw big crowds, including the Frozen Four NCAA Hockey Final Tournament at the Consol Energy Center in April.
According to the report, overall, Pennsylvania hosted an estimated 181.7 million visitors in 2011, 62 percent of which were from out-of-state. Pennsylvania ranked seventh in leading destinations for overnight business travel behind California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Georgia.