Hotel businesses in Omaha suffer during pandemic
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha businesses lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars over the past year.
Cancellations of major events like CWS and the swim trails have devastated the tourism industry and particular, hotels.
But the major announcement of the entire NCAA D1 volleyball tournament coming to town is bringing some hope.
“We went from gearing up to get to our summer number of 85 to 95% occupancy to hoovering in below 5,” said Kirt Trivedi, of Anant Operations Inc.
The numbers over the past year are staggering. Kirt Trivedi oversees four Omaha-metro hotels.
He has watched the once thriving hospitality industry come to a halt because of the pandemic. Finally, a year later, some good news.
This week the NCAA announced Omaha will host the entire D1 volleyball tournament.
“That’s a much-needed boost to the hotel industry. Then obviously the domino effect. Sales tax, lodging tax. When more people stay in hotels, they stay in restaurants, they rent cars. Gas stations, convenience stores, it’s a residual effect that goes all the way down,” said Trivedi.
Visit Omaha says the final four event alone will bring in an estimated $8 million to the Omaha community. With 48 teams added into the mix, the impact will be even greater.
The big question now is will fans be allowed to attend.
“We’re cautiously optimistic because, on paper, 2021 looks really good. We have a lot of events. I think 65 events worth about $167 million. What we don’t know is how attendance will be, how comfortable people feel about traveling,” said Deborah Ward, Visit Omaha Interim Executive Director.
Trivedi says looking forward, he thinks sporting events will help get the industry back on track.
“It’s sports. Sports is our number one producer right now,” said Trivedi.
Right now, there are a lot of details being worked out for the tournament.
The NCCA says as soon as time and capacity for each game is determined, they will make an announcement.
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