Positive Tourism Recovery Signs Springing Up in Louisville
Bourbon City’s convention business slowly returning
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 22, 2021) – As spring arrives in Louisville, business capacities are growing and so is the city’s convention activity. This March, Louisville is positioned to have the largest convention and event activity since the onset of COVID-19, with the weekend of March 19-21 recording the highest peak hotel occupancy since early 2020.
Louisville plans to host approximately 30,000 expected attendees spread over 13 events just in the month of March, compared to 50,000 attendees recorded throughout more than 30 events from July through December 2020.
“Although this feels like a shadow of the booked business in past years, we are certainly grateful for the programming we do have on the books, especially our strong sports segment paving the way for recovery with several events in the new Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center this first quarter,” said Doug Bennett, Senior Vice President Convention Development for Louisville Tourism.
Additionally, the future is looking rosier as the city is in the home stretch leading up to May’s 147th Running of the Kentucky Derby, with January through June boasting more than 80 events resulting in over 100,000 attendees. Twenty of those events anticipate more than 1,000 participants per event. These positive numbers will help grow Louisville’s occupancy rate, which was 30% this past January, compared to 46% in January 2020 according to the industry STR report.
Additional positive indicators Louisville’s tourism industry is on the road to recovery:
- Spirit airlines service launching from SDF with 5 nonstop routes
- Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center debuts
- The Grady Hotel, with 51 luxury rooms, readies to open in the downtown corridor
- The Cambria Hotel Louisville Downtown – Whiskey row is nearing completion
- New ownership of theme parks Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay
- KFC Yum! Center re-opens with first touring show in March
- Kentucky recently increased business capacity to 60%
- Downtown hotel occupancy the weekend of March 6th was the highest since March 2020 at 75%
“An additional coup for Louisville is the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation both convention centers have achieved as this stringent national cleanliness certification has instilled confidence in our customers, providing further reassurance of our high-quality safety standards to all who meet at our facilities,” said Karen Williams, President & CEO of Louisville Tourism.
Said Williams, “Looking at all of these positive signs, it’s clear that Louisville is open for business. We anticipate the pent-up travel demand will bode well for our full recovery in the future.”