Travel and tourism generates $28.6 billion a year in Pennsylvania, but Allegheny County’s official promotion agency thinks Pittsburgh is not living up to its potential because of its smoky history.
VisitPITTSBURGH hosted a photo contest with the goal of attracting tourists to Pittsburgh by showing it as a “vibrant” city.
Spokeswoman Connie George said the agency wanted to break the stereotype associated with the city.
“We wanted photos that captured things that were surprising about Pittsburgh or things that showed that were vibrant, or visuals that sort of combated the typical impression of Pittsburgh as a smoky city,” George said.
The top three winning photos included a reflection of Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, a neighborhood in the North Side and a silhouette of two people embracing in front of the Point State Park Fountain.
“It was incredible and it was really nice to see how our Pittsburgh residents and Allegheny County residents look at what they have and take pictures of it and really appreciate it and show us from their perspective all the best aspects of the city and region,” George said.
George said VisitPITTSBURGH will use the photos to promote Pittsburgh online and through the media.
“Some of them will go on the website and some of them will just be in our internal photo library so when a reporter calls after we’ve pitched them…” George said. “And they say ‘we’re interested in learning more about the 90 neighborhoods of Pittsburgh,’ and I can say ‘oh let me show you how unique our neighborhoods are.’”
George said they will also use the photos for print advertising in cities like Baltimore, Columbus and Buffalo and to help meetings planners increase attendance at conventions inside Pittsburgh.
George said each of the winning photos portrayed Pittsburgh as the city it is today.
“The winning picture of Phipps with the beautiful reflection on the water … to me it said Pittsburgh is green, Pittsburgh is sunny and beautiful, sometimes sunny but all the time beautiful, and we have a lot to offer,” George said.