Hospitality Industry In Charlotte Starting To Bounce Back

CHARLOTTE, NC. — One in nine people work in the hospitality industry in our community, says CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority Tom Murray. That’s 147,000 people. So when the pandemic hit:

“55,000 of them lost their jobs, and we were the most damaged industry of any of the industries, and clearly, it was hard on the employees,” Murray says.

At the lowest point in 2020, hotel occupancy in Mecklenburg county hit 22% the week of April 11, compared to 77% the week ending February 29. Hotel revenue totaled $807.5 million pre-pandemic and fell to $302.1 million, a 63% decline. With more COVID vaccinations getting into the arms of people, Murray says signs are pointing to a recovery.

“We’re starting to see occupancy‘s and hotels look strong on the weekends and in general in the county, strong as well. So that’s been a really pleasant surprise.”

Murray says convention, meeting, and business travel is coming back first and business transit last because of corporate announcements saying companies aren’t welcoming back employees into the office until summer. Murray says he’s optimistic about the future of travel and tourism in Charlotte.

“The economy that it generates. I think the hospitality industry will actually lead us out of this Covid environment and excel our recovery as we move forward.”