PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A lot of folks remember Pittsburgh International Airport’s heyday as a major hub, but something happened there on Friday that local leaders say is unlike anything in the region’s history.
The first non-stop commercial flight from Shanghai to Pittsburgh landed, bringing hundreds of tourists to the area.
The visitors got quite a welcome as they arrived at the airport, ready to get their first glimpse of the Steel City.
“It’s 316 visitors brand new to the region, who are all going to go back and get on Weibo and WeChat, their versions of Facebook and Twitter, and say, ‘Hey, Pittsburgh was fantastic,’” said Allegheny Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis.
Subsidized by VisitPittsburgh, the Airport Authority, and the Idea Foundry, it’s part of a three-year agreement to market and sell trips to Pittsburgh.
With some direction and translation, the visitors are off to get a glimpse of their first sights in western Pennsylvania.
“She is especially interested in the universities in Pittsburgh because she knows we have a lot of good universities in the region, and also the culture. She wants to experience that as well,” said Yiqun Sun, with Idea Foundry, of one of the tourists.
Museums and culture, sports and restaurants, landmarks and nature. It will be eight days in the United States for them, and a lifetime of memories.
“We expect to see more demand and more flights next summer,” said Cassotis.