Monday, September 28, 2009

G20 Already Paying Dividend

Regional economic development officials say the G20 is already paying off for the city. Visit Pittsburgh CEO Joe McGrath says his organization estimates $35 million was spent by out of town guests related to the G20. About half of that was spent last week. And he says the summit is already paying off in convention bookings. He says before the G20 the number 2 reason for not choosing Pittsburgh for a convention was that the city was not glamorous enough and that has changed. He says he expects to ink one deal for a convention in 2011 today and another next week for a 2014 event and both mentioned the G20 coverage as the deciding factor. McGrath says the conventions should each bring about a million dollars to town. Allegheny Conference Executive Dennis Yablonsky has a similar story. He says he received a call Friday from an international company that had been reading about Pittsburgh in their local papers and would now like to come to the city to talk about doing business in Pittsburgh. Another official estimated that the number positive news coverage about the city was equal to $100 million in advertising.
McGrath says he understands that many downtown business lost revenue Thursday and Friday but he says he thinks many of them broke even for the month due to extra business in the weeks leading up to the G20. He pointed to several dinners held at area restaurants for out of town delegations in the last month. He says the Japanese Government asked him to recommend the best Pennsylvania red wine and then ordered 200 bottles for an event. McGrath also noted that while revenues were lost downtown it was sent to other parts of the region. He says golf courses reported increases in rounds played Thursday and Friday.

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