While Nashville’s tourism industries continue to face reduced revenues, hotel occupancy during Memorial Day weekend suggests a renewed desire for leisurely travel.
Hotel occupancy on Saturday of the holiday weekend was at 91.3%. That’s not far below the average of 95.7% occupancy that hotels tracked for the comparable day from 2017 through 2019.
Leisure travel represents about 40% of Nashville’s tourism business, while conventions and business travel account for the majority of revenue, according to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.
“We need conventions to come back for our industry to recover,” Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., said in a statement to WPLN News. “Conventions are a crucial piece of the tourism industry.”
In less than two weeks, the Music City Center in Nashville will host its first large gathering since the pandemic shutdown. The Southern Baptist Convention will bring thousands to town.
There are several conventions scheduled during the summer, and more are expected in the fall.
“That’s when we expect to see that sector of our industry really rebounding,” Spyridon said.
Increasing all of tourism to pre-pandemic levels might not rebound as quickly. In February 2020, Nashville reported that Davidson County produced about one-third of all visitor spending in Tennessee, totaling about $7 billion annually.