Ravenstahl, Onorato taking business trip to Europe

Travel to partly coincide with orchestra tour

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Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato will leave later this month for business development trips to Europe to coincide in part with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's upcoming visit to the continent, officials confirmed today.

The trips, partially sponsored by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, are expected to be detailed at a press conference tomorrow at Heinz Hall, where the symphony expects to unveil its PSO 250 Ambassador Tour celebrating the city's 250th birthday.

"The PRA is partnering for part of the tour, because that makes sense from a business development perspective," said Catherine DeLoughry, senior vice president for communications for the alliance. "As part of that activity, both Mr. Onorato and Mr. Ravenstahl are playing a part, in some cases in different places."

Mr. Onorato will leave Jan. 23 and begin holding business meetings in Barcelona, Spain, on Jan. 24. He will then travel to Madrid before going to Amsterdam to coincide with symphony performances there, and he will return to Pittsburgh on Jan. 30.

Mr. Ravenstahl will leave for Amsterdam on Jan. 26, arriving there Jan. 27. He'll leave there for Paris and Dunkirk, France, on Jan. 30, for a business development leg sponsored by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Ms. DeLoughry said.

Mr. Ravenstahl's staff said he intends to try to attract business to Pittsburgh and will make at least one speech about the city's progress.

Mr. Onorato will talk with business leaders and airline executives in an attempt to both attract investment and interest a carrier in direct flights from Pittsburgh International Airport

The firs performance on the Pittsburgh 250 European Ambassador Tour is Jan. 21. Beginning in cities in Spain, then traveling to Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, the PSO will perform in some of the most prestigious halls in Europe, showing off its artistry and celebrating the city's anniversary. The orchestra's high reputation in Europe makes it an ideal vehicle for the Allegheny Conference, the PRA, the city and the county to initiate meeting businesses that might be interested in locating offices in Pittsburgh.

The PRA sees this as "an opportunity to use the marketing tool that the PSO tour offers -- the PSO has an international reputation -- to open the door for the world-class region the PSO comes from," said Ms. DeLoughry. The orchestra helps them to "establish a common ground with busienss prospects. We're working with a variety of business leaders, some of whom may be just meeting the Pittsburgh community for the first time, and some of which we may have long-term relationships with."

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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