PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As businesses continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus shutdown, the tourism industry is no different.
“This pandemic has been a disruption. We’ve never seen this before in the travel industry,” said Jered Bachar, the president of Visit Pittsburgh.
Bachar told KDKA that Visit Pittsburgh is currently doing studies to determine the economic loss of the last 16 weeks.
“Here in Allegheny County, it’s a $6.4 billion industry. It supports over 43,000 jobs and supports $400 million in state and local taxes every year,” Bachar said.
Preliminary research shows one million fewer hotels were occupied this year, according to Bachar.
“That equates to 2.6 million people. That’s fewer people who have stayed in hotels in Allegheny County. That comes out to close to $350 million people would have spent compared to this time last year,” Bachar said.
Bachar said those dollars would have been spent in local restaurants, gas stations and attractions.
One of those attractions is the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, which has not been able to hold any events or shows.
“For every 50 shows we do in the Mon Valley at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, we bring in a $1 million to the Waterfront district,” said Executive Director Carol Shrieve.
Shrieve said that every patron would spend roughly $50-75 before or after every show.
With rising coronavirus case numbers, Bachar said the group launched Rediscover Pittsburgh to help these different businesses. It’s a campaign that encourages local people to spend their money at home.
“Pittsburghers always show up for Pittsburghers and that’s something we continue to ask and continue to see in the marketplace and that is what gives us the most hope moving forward,” Bachar said.
Visit Pittsburgh reports over 300 events or conventions have already been canceled from March through the end of the year.