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VisitPITTSBURGH announces 10 year Tourism Development Plan

PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh (photo: Dustin McGrew)

New microsite designed to provide public-facing access to track progress of action items.

VisitPITTSBURGH has a strong vision for how to enhance and advance tourism across Allegheny County, and that vision has been brought to life with the unveiling of a new Tourism Development Plan and microsite .

“Today marks the official release of a year’s worth of data collection, research and stakeholder engagement,” said Jerad Bachar, President & CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. “This plan was thoughtfully developed to identify strategies that will propel the tourism industry forward, while focusing on our mission to drive visitation and overall economic impact across the destination.”

The 10-year development plan includes more than 40 strategies and 80 unique action items that together form a roadmap for the development, management and marketing of tourism assets in both the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The plan is designed with the overall visitor experience in mind, while also identifying ways to enhance the quality of life for residents and those within the local hospitality workforce.

“We all know that Pittsburgh is a great place to call home, but now it’s time to focus on how we can work together to grow and attract more visitors,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “I applaud the VisitPITTSBURGH team for leading the charge and developing a plan that embraces and celebrates the rich cultural diversity that makes our city great. This new plan will shine a new light on our rich cultural history as we continue our work on making Pittsburgh the most welcoming city in America.”

Jerad Bachar

Jerad Bachar, President & CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH.

Tourism Development Plan backed by industry research and stakeholder engagement

VisitPITTSBURGH engaged Resonance Consultancy and partner HVS to conduct a multi-phase approach, including industry research, destination benchmarking and stakeholder engagement, to inform the strategies and action items found within the plan.

The first phase included a complete destination assessment of both quantitative and qualitative research related to industry trends, the hospitality market, sports and events program infrastructure, occupational analysis and more.

Throughout phase two, the project team surveyed nearly 3,000 residents and visitors to gather insights on both local and out-of-state perceptions of the destination and available tourism assets.

“Based on the engagement and insights learned, we were able to develop a long-term vision for Pittsburgh that includes a series of recommendations on how to improve the overall visitor experience, while providing new opportunities for our locals as well,” said Bachar.

Strategies in place are designed to improve and develop Pittsburgh’s experiences, connectivity and hospitality industry

The Tourism Development Plan is divided into three strategic areas:

  • Experiences – Strategies to expand and diversify the range of assets and attractions for visitors—from accommodations to culinary, arts, culture, heritage, shopping and outdoor adventures
  • Connectivity – Strategies to improve access across the destination by exploring a range of broadened transportation modes
  • Industry – Strategies to enhance tourism and hospitality business performance, employee attraction and retention and tourism development plan governance

“The Tourism Development Plan is truly all-encompassing and provides unique action items to tackle each of these important areas from the ground up,” said Michele Meloy Burchfield, Chair of the VisitPITTSBURGH Board of Directors. “The VisitPITTSBURGH team looked holistically at Pittsburgh as a destination and included thoughtful ways we can improve our experiences for visitors, while also enhancing our infrastructure and supporting our hospitality workforce.”

New experiences set to position Pittsburgh as a world-class tourism destination

Of Pittsburgh’s 90 distinct neighbourhoods, only 10 percent are popular visitor destinations anchored by major sports stadiums, museums and cultural institutions, parks and universities. The Experiences section of the plan is designed to better position and promote our city of multitudes and enhance our in-market experience for both residents and visitors alike. Sample action items include:

  • Promote and market unique placemaking efforts that celebrate emerging cultures across the destination
  • Develop neighbourhood itineraries to encourage travellers to extend their length of stay
  • Create a museum pass designed to drive visitation to our cultural attractions

Transportation focus aims to improve connectivity among Pittsburgh’s tourism assets

When compared to other destination features, connectivity across Pittsburgh was rated as relatively poor among both residents and visitors alike. The Connectivity section of the plan evaluates and identifies new strategies to improve – from public transit and trails to air and waterway travel. Sample action items include:

  • Support a citywide wayfinding system that builds on and complements downtown signage efforts
  • Highlight, promote and improve access to trails
  • Support Pittsburgh Regional Transit Authority’s study of long-term train/BRT connection from the airport to downtown

Workforce training and development stands to make lasting impact on tourism industry

Over the last 10 years, Allegheny County has lost 11 percent of its tourism employment – more than double the loss found within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Industry section of the plan is designed to combat and reverse that trend by focusing on the growth of labor supply and retention of hospitality workers. Sample action items include:

  • Create a marketing campaign to promote wealth and diversity of jobs within the tourism industry
  • Increase collaboration between industry and education providers to develop educational and workplace-based training programs
  • Create a digital job board for local industry positions

Action items and collaboration on strategies are already underway

“It’s no secret that this 10-year development plan will be a big lift, and that’s why we’re definitely not going at it alone,” said Bachar. “If there is one thing Pittsburghers know, it’s that we’re stronger when we work together – and that’s exactly the type of collaboration you will see as we bring more and more of these action items to life.”

Several action items found within the Tourism Development Plan are already underway, including the development of an all-new African American Tourism Advisory Council and dedicated support for the expansion and growth of culinary events and festivals.

Track the progress of these action items and more in real-time with the help of the new Tourism Development Plan microsite. This site is designed to be a public lens into the work happening across the county to grow and develop the tourism industry.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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