Pittsburgh: We’re Still Trending
The tagline of the VisitPittsburgh annual meeting says it all, and leaders were optimistic that momentum will continue through 2016.
photo by dave hallewell/Hi-Fi Fotos
The national media loves us. We love us. Pittsburgh is hot and getting hotter.
City leaders and VisitPittsburgh officials at the organization’s 80th annual meeting Tuesday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center cited numerous accolades our region has received of late, including being named one of TripAdvisor’s “Top Destination on the Rise” and the No. 1 “Food City of 2015” from Zagat.
“A lot of people are talking about Pittsburgh,” says VisitPittsburgh President and CEO Craig Davis.
Other speakers, including Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Jamie Capolongo of the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, touted many of the various anniversaries the city is celebrating. This month, the city celebrated the 100th anniversary of its incorporation, the Omni William Penn Hotel celebrated its 100th birthday and later this year the Noah’s Ark attraction at Kennywood will turn 80 (the return of the squishy tongue also was referenced).
Photo by elaina zachos
In 2016, leaders expect to garner even more attention with the National League of Cities City Summit in November, big-name concerts such as Beyonce (May 31), Billy Joel (July 1) and Justin Bieber (July 13), Anthrocon’s 10th visit (June 30-July 3) and The Marilyn Denis Show’s plans to film here this fall (the host, who previously lived in Pittsburgh, was described as Canada’s Ellen DeGeneres).
Other upcoming events include the 9th time the U.S. Open will be held here, the 33rd annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, an exhibit by world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei at The Andy Warhol Museum, the much-anticipated international Re:NEW Festival this fall and a Daniel Tiger exhibit this summer at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Officials noted 4,400-plus hotel rooms have been added in the region since 2006. Revenue from the Allegheny County Hotel Room Tax was $9,801,569 in 2015, up from $9,038,134 in 2014.
VisitPittsburgh Tuesday proposed an increase — 1.25 percent — in that tax to help fund a sports commission, which leaders say is essential to attracting a future Super Bowl to Heinz Field.
Officials also noted nine hotels are in the pipeline, joining Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, Hotel Indigo, Hyatt House Pittsburgh Shadyside and numerous others that recently opened.
“We’re still trending,” says Fitzgerald. “We’re still moving in the right direction.”