VisitPittsburgh

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s visitors and tourism bureau, VisitPITTSBURGH said 2014 was a strong year, but that 2015 is shaping up to be busier.

The organization released its annual report Thursday, highlighting the economic impact tourism has on the region. Each year the industry brings about $5.6 billion to the region and supports some 40,000 jobs.

Each year VisitPITTSBURGH, the city’s official tourism and promotion agency, releases an Official Visitors Guide to Pittsburgh. This year there’s a change.

“What makes this a little bit different this year is that our visitors guide, we’re changing the orientation from a portrait type of orientation to a landscape, which makes it very different than all of our competitive cities,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH.

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is threatening to withhold nearly $682,000 from VisitPittsburgh until the nonprofit tourism promotion agency explains why it allocated public funds to Mayor Peduto’s “Undercover Boss” appearance last month.

As part of the CBS reality show, Peduto promised $155,000 to four city employees for college tuition, mortgage payments and startup costs for a new church. Peduto said no public funds would be used, but according to Wagner, VisitPittsburgh was asked to contribute $25,000 toward the gifts.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has been described as “hip,” “organic” and “authentic” by a slew of travel publications over the past few years, but what does all this recognition mean for the city and its residents?

It means money and a boost in the economy, according to Craig Davis, CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, Susan Corbett, the First Lady of Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

They gathered Tuesday at PNC Park, voted one of the best views in the country, in recognition of Pittsburgh being named as a “Top 10 All-American Travel Destinations” by the Travel Channel.

John Cheng / USA Gymnastics

Gymnastics is always one of the most popular Olympic sports, and Pittsburghers will soon have the opportunity to get a sneak peak at some of top medal contenders for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

USA Gymnastics will hold its P&G Gymnastics Championships Aug. 21-24 at the CONSOL Energy Center.

Leslie King, vice president of communications for USA Gymnastics, said athletes will compete not only for the title of national champion, but also for a spot on the team that will go to the World Championships in Nanning, China in October.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

The world’s largest furry convention is under way in downtown Pittsburgh. The convention for artists, animators, costumers, puppeteers and fans has called the Steel City home since 2006.

“By the time we’re finished with this particular convention, Anthrocon will have left $41 million of economic activity in the Pittsburgh region over the last nine years,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

At its annual meeting Thursday, VisitPITTSBURGH highlighted some of the successes in tourism in the last couple of years.

The national group Tourism Economics releases data on the industry; 2012 numbers were recently released for Allegheny County.

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.

Penguins + Playoffs=$Millions For The City

May 3, 2013

The Penguins host the New York Islanders this evening in the second game of their best of seven first round playoff series.  That means another three-plus million dollars for Pittsburgh’s economy.

“You just knew at the start [of the lockout-shortened NHL season] the Penguins would make the playoffs,” said Craig Davis, CEO of VisitPittsburgh.  “Hopefully, they’ll go very, very far because there’s a real significant economic impact to the city when they go that far.”

Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh can add the 2014 U.S. Gymnastics Championships to its hosting resume, along with the 2009 G-20 Summit, 2011 Winter Classic, 2012 NHL Draft and 2012 One Young World Conference.  

The gymnastics competition is coming to Pittsburgh for the first time from Aug. 21-24, 2014, at the CONSOL Energy Center. 

Steve Penny, President and CEO of the U.S. Gymnastics organization, said it's not just the newly-constructed arena in Uptown that made Pittsburgh appealing.