Nashville’s tourism industry scrambling to recover after losing $4.5 billion during pandemic

Special Reports

Overcoming COVID: A Peek into the Future

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — It’s an unimaginable loss and money that cannot be made back.

Total visitor spending lost in 2020 since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit now sits at  $4.5 billion, according to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation (NCVC). 

“Restaurant seats, hotel, airline seats, if you don’t sell them today they’re gone forever,” Butch Spyridon said, President and CEO of NCVC.

The NCVC said there has been at least 1,545 meeting/convention cancellations representing 1,352,372 room nights and 898,788 attendees.

These meetings were expected to generate $671.26 million in direct spending, $54.33 million in state taxes, and $57.88 million in local taxes. In addition, 207 of these groups postponed or rebooked for future dates, with 233,563 room nights, 141,319 attendees, and $110.32 million in direct spending.

NCVC tells News 2 they’ve moved a couple of big conventions, one from February and one from April into June 2021.

Spyridon is eyeing June as THE month to see some improvement.

“Now, that doesn’t mean we pop back to massive attendance numbers, and we have to start somewhere,” he continued, “Just by every measure measurement, every research, every conversation, June continues to feel like the right month that we really feel significant improvement.”

“One of the question marks – especially with conventions – is do people have the economic where with all to attend? So we anticipate the meetings happening, but attendance being down a bit, certainly, for the second half of 2021,” explained Spyridon.

Additionally, Spyridon said he’s had weekly conversations with CMA, and he feels confident CMA Fest will happen. However, that depends on where COVID cases stand as well as vaccine distribution.

“Logically, it will be smaller than normal, but we hope it’s significant enough to make a difference,” He added, “Then, we have the NASCAR Cup race in June at the Superspeedway. So, there are some good things on the horizon, and we need to keep them all in play.”

“We’re optimistic about our recovery. Our research tell us summer should be much better than last year,” Spyridon emphasized.

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