Pittsburgh’s Tourism Sector Reports Strong Growth

Economic impact from 20 million visitors topped $6 billion

By Matt Neistei

Published April 8, 2024

Read Time: 2 mins


A couple of weeks after Pittsburgh International Airport reported it was finally meeting — and surpassing — 2019 travel levels, VisitPITTSBURGH announced tourism in the region is nearly there as well.

More than 20 million visitors came to Allegheny County in 2023, creating an economic impact of $6.4 billion, the agency said. That is just shy of the $6.5 billion impact the agency reported in 2019.

However, year-over-year growth remains strong, with a 6.1 percent increase in visitor spending and comparable increases in tax revenue and wages in the tourism sector.

The agency forecasts $6.7 billion in tourism spending in 2024, with the local tourism sector anticipating a gain of nearly 2,000 jobs, to a total of more than 41,000 total jobs, by year-end.

The region’s largest tourism agency made the announcement at its annual meeting on Wednesday, where hundreds of civic and business leaders, including Gov. Josh Shapiro, gathered for an update on the community’s rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What an incredible year for Allegheny County’s tourism industry,” said Jerad Bachar, VisitPITTSBURGH’s president and CEO. “These landmark gains have been years in the making and represent the collective resilience and collaboration found across all sectors of the industry. From hoteliers, restaurants and attractions to leisure, business and sports events, our tourism community has pulled together for another year of growth.”

The annual meeting came a week after the city hosted games for the first two rounds of the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament that drew thousands of fans and an estimated $10 million in spending.

Officials, including Shapiro, are also targeting the NFL Draft and working with the league to bring it to Pittsburgh in the next couple of years.

“As part of our economic development strategy, we are going to rely heavily on tourism,” Shapiro said at the meeting. “Tourism is a key driver of our economic strategy going forward.”

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