Originally published on March 12, 2019 in The Downtowner Newsletter.
Thanks to new international direct flights and a collaboration with the Pittsburgh International Airport, VisitPITTSBURGH is back into international marketing again for the first time in more than ten years. To help raise awareness of Pittsburgh and to drive international visitation in the U.K. and Germany where there are now direct flights to Pittsburgh, the International Marketing Collaborative was created in 2017.
Original members of the collaborative included the Pittsburgh International Airport, Visit Butler, Visit Washington County, VisitPITTSBURGH and the Idea Foundry. Visit Monroeville and the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau recently joined the collaborative. The group is also utilizing the services of two international public relations and marketing firms based out of the U.K. and Germany.
The collaborative project focuses its marketing efforts on cities and countries that have direct flights from Pittsburgh International Airport. The group is essentially identifying the channels and mediums that will best promote Pittsburgh to new audiences of travelers. This push will drive visitation and create a positive impact on our local economy. Overall, the collaborative is a win-win situation for everyone involved; and, with the inaugural British Airways direct flight from Heathrow Airport to Pittsburgh, the wins keep coming for Pittsburgh.
“Our international marketing efforts and the new direct flights are the result of the outstanding work being done by our partners at the Pittsburgh International Airport,” said Tom Loftus, chief marketing officer for VisitPITTSBURGH. “They are helping us bring the world to Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh to the world.”
These advances haven’t gone unnoticed. National Geographic Traveller, a U.K. based publication, named Pittsburgh one of the coolest places to visit in 2019. If that wasn’t already amazing enough, Pittsburgh was the only U.S. city to make the list.
VisitPITTSBURGH staff members, along with representatives from their partner organizations, attend international trade shows as another avenue for promoting Pittsburgh.
Due to increased interest surrounding Pittsburgh, in 2018, VisitPITTSBURGH’s Marketing department hosted 19 international writers which produced 350 positive articles on the region and $7.6 million in advertising equivalency. And, the Convention Sales department hosted nine tour operators from the U.K. and Germany.
The benefits of all these organizations working together are huge for Downtown Pittsburgh. Visitors who travel to Pittsburgh want to take in all that we have to offer. They want to stay in our Downtown hotels, explore the Cultural District and eat/drink at our amazing restaurants and bars. Our local businesses want the same thing, and this collaborative is taking Pittsburgh one step closer to making that dream a reality.