An important part of Cincinnati’s recovery from COVID-19 is the Convention

Cincinnati – Approximately 4,500 people will travel to Cincinnati on the weekend of July 4th for the 133rd International Moose Convention.

From June 30th to July 4th the group will discuss the worldwide work of fraternity with the Lodge.

The Cincinnati Reds are in the expanded homestead, including a weekend game against the Chicago Cubs. And everyone knows that Cubs fans travel a lot.

This holiday weekend is an important milestone for the local tourism and hotel industry, which has been badly damaged by the pandemic in the past 18 months.

Julie Culvert, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) said:

What you need to know

  • The loss of 166 congresses / conferences to COVID had a negative economic impact of $ 114 million
  • Some events are returning to the area
  • Leisure travel still far outweighs business travel
  • The numbers are expected to return to near 2019 by 2023

Culvert recalled March 7, 2020 as the date of the “massive apostasy”.

Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati (provided)

“The event was canceled, the meeting was canceled and the occupancy (of the hotel room) was just beginning to spiral downwards and last through 2020,” she said.

Last year, according to the CVB, a total of 166 groups canceled a meeting or convention in Cincinnati / Hamilton County. The Duke Energy Convention Center only hosted 20 events 12 months after the pandemic started.

These canceled events mean the loss of a hotel room for 132,000 nights. CVB estimates that 1.73 million people lived in these rooms, ate Cincinnati food, drank Cincinnati beer, and bought Cincinnati goods.

It never happened.

The negative economic impact of losing these incidents was $ 114 million, Calvert said. And this number only reflects events that are planned via CVB.

It does not include the impact of losing outstanding events such as the Taste of Cincinnati, Western & Southern Open, the Cincinnati Music Festival, and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, one of the largest events in the world.

Rick Booth, general manager of the Duke Energy Convention Center, said, “A night in a hotel room lays the foundation for our funding and brings tons of extra dollars into the central business district,” he added. “As local restaurant owners and small business owners know, everyone thrives downtown when a convention comes to town.”

At the lowest level, hotel occupancy was 16%, according to Culvert. At Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) there were only 300-400 passengers a day.

To stabilize the downtown economy, the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County worked with the Cincinnati US Regional Chamber to turn funds and other resources to SMEs.

Strateries have sprung up and small business grants have been created. Funds were collected for looking after the day-care centers. Free worker protective equipment and business hand sanitizer are now available.

Hundreds of millions of federal bailouts under the U.S. rescue program have not hurt.

The Get Your Cincy On campaign, led by CVB and the Chamber of Commerce, aims to get people to help local businesses.

Stephanie Summerlow Dumas, Chair of the Hamilton County Commission, said, “We believe that the combined effort of all of us means that we all have a bright future.”

The release of the COVID vaccine and the lifting of many restrictions have helped restore the travel and tourism sectors in recent months. Candace McGraw, CEO of CVG Airport, said he expected passenger numbers this summer to be 75-80% of the 2019 total.

Last month, she said, she saw about 10,000 to 12,000 people pass security checkpoints on peak travel days.

“We expect domestic recreational traffic to be fully revitalized by the end of this year as conferences and other large gatherings (such as trade shows) return this summer and fall,” said McGraw. .. She added that business and international travel will gradually recover in 2022 and 2023.

Terminal at CVG airport

Business travel is also an important economic driver for the local hospitality industry. In the past two months, national data has shown a 20 point improvement in business travel, according to McGraw, but only about 35% from 2019 levels.

According to Culvert, people feel “sick” and look for something to do. She said there are many locals using Staycation and people from all over the area. It is suitable for bars, restaurants, museums and other shops.

But they need a business trip to come back.

“We see a lot of activity on weekends in the 80s (percent range) hotel occupancy, but it’s still a bit bland on weekdays,” said Calvert. “We know it will bounce back if people continue to feel safe.”

But things are getting better, said Calvert. She announced a city-sponsored meeting in the fall of 2020.

In October, airline executives from around the world gathered in downtown Cincinnati for the International Aviation Forecast Summit. Initially, the event hosted about 800, but only about 100 actually attended.

Still, it’s a good place to start, said Calvert. Some hotel rooms are occupied. There were guests out of town in the bars and restaurants. And things looked more normal.

“It was a really good time to host this event because it gave us a seat before we could analyze trends and see industry forecast and recovery in the aviation industry,” said Calvert.

According to the state, the convention center will be “almost normal” due to load capacity restrictions. He hopes to get 80-90% back to normal business by the fall. Around 85-90% of the canceled events are rebooked to the latest. Back to 2022.

The National Private Truck Council was held earlier this month. About 1,000 people gathered in the area for a two-day meeting.

Other events this summer include the Pure Romance Convention, the Comic Expo, local homeschooling conferences and the Flying Pig Marathon.

“For the rest of the year we have a very strong line-up of conventions so far, which tells me people are ready to go,” said Culvert. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and the future plans.”

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