The State of the Industry

VisitPittsburgh’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Loftus delivered the State of the Industry to what he labeled as the “Who’s Who in the Travel and Tourism Industry”, Tuesday night, at the Fairmont Hotel Pittsburgh. Fairmont Pittsburgh is located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, and is the city’s first LEED® Gold certified hotel. The contemporary Four Diamond property is home to 185 luxurious guest rooms and suites, Andys bar and the Health Club & Spa at Fairmont Pittsburgh (Fairmont Pittsburgh, 2017). For more information and reservations, visit


Tom reviewed some of the 2017 highlights, one of which included Pittsburgh as #4 in the 17 Best Places to Travel in 2017, next to destinations such as New Zealand, Finland, and Canada according to Harper’s Magazine. Other accolades include:

This is an honor that the entire room should share. The tourism industry is helping to transform Pittsburgh along with all the elected officials, business leaders, universities and nonprofits who continue to re-imagine the city and the world has taken notice. The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been a large driver with the international buzz created. Tom asked for those in attendance to stand and be acknowledged for the following achievements:

  • Landing more and more direct flights from 37 nonstops in 2014 to 68 today!

  • Named Airport of the Year by Air Transport Magazine

  • On track to have the most number of passengers in a decade. 2017 is the 4th consecutive year of growth.

  • Added several new airlines such as Allegiant, Condor, Frontier, OneJet, Spirit and WOW

  • Delta to Paris had a successful year and in 2018 is upgrading their aircraft to a 767 for the season

  • WOW to Reykjavik service 4x per week upped to 5x for the summer season

  • Allegheny County Airport Authority unveiled a $1.1 billion Modernization Plan

  • Condor is expanding the season next year and adding a 3rd weekly flight, doubling the number of flights for the season

  • Just announced direct flights to and from Seattle on Alaska Airlines

Pittsburgh is on Fire!

Air Transportation

The International Marketing Collaborative is an initiative in which the Airport, VisitPittsburgh, Butler, and Washington counties are working hard to tell the Pittsburgh story overseas through our direct flights. But it doesn’t stop there. Pittsburghers want to welcome the international market. VisitPittsburgh is working with PR agencies in the United Kingdom, Germany and coming soon China.


Pittsburgh was awarded this year the most number of NCAA Championship Tournament games, more than any other city thanks to the SportsPITTSBURGH team, led by Jennifer Hawkins and 9 other host institutions. Other cities across the nation are also taking notice. Pittsburgh is now a major player for NCAA events and the tourism industry will play an important role in welcoming these athletes, parents, coaches, fans and media, beginning next March with the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Rounds 1 and 2.


In other news, the city will host the 2019 PCMA conference, which attracts more than 4,000 meeting professionals and the purpose is to make Pittsburgh their first choice when planning for conventions. Preparation for the PCMA has begun and VisitPittsburgh plans to blow their minds. Tom extended his gratitude for your cooperation in advance! A few other upcoming 2018 conventions include the National Society of Black Engineers, Tekko, Anthrocon, and American Institute of Chemical Engineering.


Proposed locations for new hotels include the former Salvation Army Building, Macy’s Building, and Rivers Casino to name a few. VisitPittsburgh recognizes demand will have to catch up to supply; however, Tom and his team are working hard on the international market and other creative campaigns to fill needs during the shoulder season.


We cannot forget, Pittsburgh is still marketed as a top food city. And VisitPittsburgh continues to market everything that makes Pittsburgh’s arts and cultural area so hot. The Andy Warhol Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater are globally recognized and make our city easily translatable to an international market. The upcoming marketing campaigns will boast attractions of both old (food, cultural and sports tourism) and new (beer & whiskey, bike, medical, education and tech tourism).

Silicon Valley of the East

Pittsburgh stands on its own as we are “located way outside of ordinary”. Ask any Pittsburgher whether we are in the Northeast or Midwest? This out of the box thinking is exactly what gives Pittsburgh its Silicon Valley label. Our universities are key drivers of tourism with their amazing research in robotics and engineering. Google, Uber and more than 1,000 technology companies now call Pittsburgh home and often drive visitation.


Our easy to walk around downtown and “only in Pittsburgh” attractions such as the National Aviary, the University of Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms, inclines and so many others, make Pittsburgh’s beauty a selling feature.

Keeping Pittsburgh Hot

  • Look past the headlines. Keep pushing. Stay ahead of the competition.

  • Continue to promote, promote, promote!

  • Expand beyond the drive markets and include fly markets that make sense.

  • Pittsburghers are known for our friendliness and this needs to continue to differentiate us.

  • Continue to work together with business and community to support each other.

  • Think both Big and Small…big ideas but continue a small city feel.

  • Be CRAZY creative!

  • And encourage others to tell our story.

Remain Relevant

Through education and advocacy, the tourism industry must work together to remain relevant. We must keep the stakeholders and residents informed about the importance of tourism. We improve quality of life through our major economic impact, job opportunities, attracting future residents and businesses.

Remain an Economic Driver

Tourism, as we all know remains an economic driver – now up to $5.9 billion in direct spending in Allegheny County. We have to be at the “Big Table” when important projects are being discussed that can affect our industry. Do not wait for an invitation to join these discussions - be leaders! Be thought and community leader! Sit on boards, committees and attend major events. The tourism industry is helping to lead the way to an even better Pittsburgh every day, but it is important our voices are heard.

Remain Friendly

Continue to make Pittsburgh welcoming! VisitPittsburgh will use Pittsburgh’s friendliness as their 2018 ad campaign message – people from anywhere are welcomed here! Also, rolling out is the “Why is Pittsburgh Special?” campaign to 4th and 5th graders. Pittsburgh is special because we are different and want students to know we should celebrate differences. Loftus and his team are seeking partners for this program, so please contact VisitPittsburgh if you are interested.

Fairmont Pittsburgh


Located on the second floor, Skalleagues headed over to fl.2 to check out the new modern American restaurant concept the Fairmont recently launched. The restaurant features modern American food with ingredients that are always true to the season. Local sourcing with area farms and purveyors, such as Rivendale Farms, combined with preparations from the culinary team’s perspective will bring the collaborative menu to life.

Designer, Lázaro Rosa-Violán

Barcelona-based, designer, Lázaro Rosa-Violán spearheaded the design of the restaurant renovation. He has an ability to combine concepts of both innovative and inviting with an eclectic twist, which has given him international acclaim.

“The vision was to create a warm space with a contemporary feel by introducing natural materials such as wood, carpets, and leather to give the space the warmth needed but also featuring electric colors to awaken a sense of contrast,” says Rosa-Violán.

Highlights include:

  • A wall mural that features a mosaic of the cityscape of Pittsburgh

  • The central bar features lit glass and brass canopy

  • Rich woods combined with shiny brass and mid-century modern furnishings with a touch of metal and marble

  • Light fixtures float in mid-air

Beyond the Menu

From menu to bar to uniforms, fl.2 uses Pittsburgh’s dynamic history to draw its inspiration. The fresh and intimate setting you can be assured the majority of items are house-made and locally sourced. The bar program also boasts fresh ingredients, locally sourced spirits and brews, and small batch estate wines. Through a partnership with MONMADE, fl.2 connected with producers to outfit the new concept restaurant. Ceramicist Reiko Yamamoto, Kelly Lane of Kelly Lane Design, Caryn Carson of Pike Leather, and Larrimor’s have brought finely crafted details to life from tailor to table.

“Our entire team is excited about this project and we are happy to see it come to life,” says Fairmont Pittsburgh General Manager Matthew Sterne. “The space is really special and will resonate with Pittsburghers. We have been working very hard behind the scenes and we look forward to sharing the finished product with everyone.”

Facebook: /Floor2Pgh fl.2 Instagram: @fl2pgh fl.2 Twitter: @Floor2_Pgh


Loftus, Tom. (2017). The State of the Industry. Chief Marketing Officer, VisitPittsburgh

Fairmont Pittsburgh (2017). Fairmont PIttsburgh launches fl.2 a new modern American restaurant concept.

#fairmontpgh #fl2 #VisitPittsburgh #sportspittsburgh #pcma #amazon2 #Allegiant #alleghenycounty #airportauthority #Wow #condor #onejet #harpersmagazine #travelzoo #NCAA

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