Pennsylvania is becoming the place to be for 2015. Just last week, The New York Times ranked Philadelphia No. 3 on their 52 Places to Go in 2015 list. Pittsburgh was also honored by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top three places worldwide to visit this year.

The article notes, “The furnaces are long gone, but this city’s on fire. The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Warhol, Mattress Factory and Wood Street Galleries have been on a curatorial tear in recent years. The restaurant scene is also alight, led by Cure and Bar Marco, but hit the old school Primanti Brothers for the best sandwich of your life.”

Likely factors that contributed to the honor include the area’s strategic investment in arts, culture and the environment. The hotel community has been growing at a fast rate with five hotel openings slated for this year, including Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco. Pittsburgh’s Cultural District features a walkable 14-block area with nine theaters, several art galleries and a number of restaurants and pubs. Numerous outdoor activities and a raved-about music scene round out the city’s offerings.

“To be among 15 destinations worldwide selected for this ‘Best Of’ list is incredibly exciting. Those of us who live here know that the city’s amazing amenities combine to create a tremendously desirable place to live and visit,” says Craig David, president and CEO, VisitPITTSBURGH. “For Pittsburgh to be included among the world’s most outstanding destinations speaks volumes about the city’s journey over the last 30 years.”

Houston was the only other U.S. city to be featured on the list. International destinations included Costa Rica, Rwanda, Helsinki, Berlin and New Zealand.

 

The SaaS platform, Wix.com, has released a new builder for business owners, planners and venue operators to create customized seating maps. Users can also assign ticket pricing based on the location of individual seats, and any variation of seating can be mapped, including tables, rows of seats, areas with general seating (e.g., a standing-room-only area), reserved VIP sections, or a combination of options.

 

If the early registration numbers for IPW, the annual international trade show of the U.S. Travel Association, are an indication, global hospitality professionals are ready to return to the United States. By the end of March, more than two months ahead of the June 4-8 gathering in Orlando, Florida, registrations by international buyers and media had nearly doubled last year’s delegate count.