Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Visitpittsburgh Hopes 2018 Will Be Better Than Ever

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Visitpittsburgh Hopes 2018 Will Be Better Than Ever

Article excerpt

The numbers keep getting bigger.

That was the message Thursday from the president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh, the leading tourism promotion agency for the region.

At a press conference preceding the agency's 82nd annual luncheon meeting, Craig Davis reported 2017 was a strong year for VisitPittsburgh and 2018 is shaping up to be even better.

In fact, Mr. Davis said, "[This year] is on pace to be a record-breaking year," he said.

In 2017, VisitPittsburgh booked 483 meetings, conventions and sports events worth an estimated $205 million in direct spending.

Included in those events were the 2019 Professional Convention Management Association (15,664 room nights); American Postal Workers Union (12,084 room nights); Teachers of English to Speakers of other Languages (8,835 room nights); Insurance Accounting & Systems Association (7,000 room nights); and the Society of Actuaries (6,825 room nights).

In all, in 2017, the agency's convention sales team booked more than 244,000 room nights for future events.

Meanwhile, SportsPittsburgh, the sports development arm of VisitPittsburgh, booked the 2019 NCAA Division I men's wrestling championship (9,341 room nights); 2018 NCAA Division II Fall Festival involving multiple national championships in non-revenue sports (5,821 room nights); National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation (5,293 room nights); and East Coast Volleyball Inc. (4,370 room nights).

Mr. Davis said a highlight of 2017 was securing an agreement with the NCAA that will bring 22 preliminary and championship events for years 2018 through 2022 - meaning Pittsburgh will host more NCAA events than any other city in the country during that span.

Another significant event was the initiative to "re-enter the international market," Mr. Davis said. VisitPittsburgh will be working with Pittsburgh International Airport, as well as tourism promotion agencies in Butler and Washington counties and Idea Foundry, a Pittsburgh-based economic development organization for Western Pennsylvania. …

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