Wake County tourism takes $ 118.5M hit from canceled meetings, conventions, sporting events

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Canceled meetings, conventions, and sporting events due to COVID-19 has caused Wake County to lose a lot of tourism dollars.

A report released Friday by Visit Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance shows the numbers from June through July. The information shows that tax collections from hotels and restaurants are down $11.2 million from the same time last year.

According to the report, prepared food and beverage tax collections are down $4 million from 2019. Hotel lodging tax collections are also down $7.2 million over last year.

The biggest impact on the economy has been the cancellation of 227 conventions, meetings, and group sporting events, totaling a $118.5 million economic impact, the report shows. In addition to canceled events and meetings, 35 conventions, meetings, and group sporting events were rescheduled for later dates, which has resulted in a $19.6 million economic impact.

“Hotel occupancy and restaurant sales both continue to increase slowly month-to-month and those are promising trends,” said Dennis Edwards, President and CEO, of Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh), in a press release. “That said, as we continue to remain in Phase Two of reopening, promoting safety measures and protocols in place by our hospitality industry locally will remain paramount to our success in continuing to attract travelers back to Wake County.”

However, the positive side of the report is that both hotel occupancy and prepared food and beverage tax collections are up. This is the highest they have been since the COVID-19 pandemic started affecting this area in March, the report said.

According to the report, Wake County typically draws 16.8 million visitors annually who spend more than $2.7 billion locally and generate more than $250 million in state and local tax revenue. The hospitality industry overall represents more than 67,000 jobs locally and is vital to the overall health of the economy.

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