As the home of the Primanti’s sandwich, breathtaking views, six-time Super Bowl champions, an exploding food scene, a vibrant arts and culture community, and so much more, Pittsburgh is a natural tourist destination.
But despite a rich history that includes playing key parts in the American and Industrial revolutions, it seems some neighbors aren’t quite aware of everything Pittsburgh has to offer. During National Travel and Tourism Week, which runs from May 5-11, VisitPittsburgh is looking to change that.
Make no mistake: Pittsburgh already has a thriving tourism industry. According to VisitPittsburgh, the destination marketing organization responsible for driving visitors to the region, tourists contribute $6 billion to the local economy annually, with 12 million people visiting Pittsburgh and surrounding areas each year.
National Travel and Tourism Week, established by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, comes just two weeks after VisitPittsburgh launched its new marketing campaign, “Pull up a chair, you’re welcomed here.”
The campaign features a video that plays off Pittsburgh’s tradition of “parking chairs” (used to reserve parking spots on public streets) and uses that as a platform to highlight the region’s reputation for friendliness. Throughout the video, Pittsburghers at many recognizable landmarks—and some that aren’t so well known – are shown pulling up a chair to invite visitors to have a seat.
(Photo provided by VisitPittsburgh)
“Pull Up a Chair” was born through multiple brainstorming sessions, said Tom Loftus, chief marketing officer for VisitPittsburgh. Loftus and his team tested the campaign during a VisitPittsburgh-hosted industry event in January, and it was a hit.
“We wanted to create a campaign to promote a welcoming Pittsburgh and one that captures the spirit of our city and its friendliness,” Loftus said. “We wanted to use the chair theme because offering a chair to someone is a well-recognized sign of hospitality.”
While sure to warm the hearts of many Pittsburghers, the campaign’s target audience reaches beyond the three rivers or even the tri-state region. The video soon will have a four-week run high above New York City’s Times Square.
Additionally, the video will play during previews leading into the new Fred Rogers biopic “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” in theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle.
It’s no coincidence that all of those cities have direct flights to Pittsburgh International Airport.
“We wanted to take advantage of the tremendous work that the airport is doing landing direct flights, so this campaign is targeted to our fly markets as well as our drive markets,” Loftus said.