NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - These days, downtown Nashville is filled with people. The rise in visitors to Music City is indicating that tourism in Nashville is making a comeback following the pandemic. But how much is tourism back in Music City?
Nashville’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said tourism currently is about 40% to 50% back. As the effects of Covid19 ease up in Music City, an influx of tourists has followed.
“Tourism is back in Nashville. I feel very safe. everyone is out partying and having a great time. It feels like the world is opening up and back to doing what they want to do which is have fun.” said Ami Mehr who is visiting from Boston.
“Yes, it’s definitely back. Thank goodness. so glad to see it back,” said brandy Lorino who is visiting Music City from Florida.
“How incredible and explosive the growth. it’s just amazing. I can't believe all the different sites and restaurants,” said Richard Haroutunian who is visiting from Boston.
Nashville’s CVB said leisure tourism is doing really well especially on Thursday through Saturday.
“The month of May was 58 %. So if you go back a year ago we were at about 19 percent. So, it’s a pretty dramatic recovery. Memorial Day weekend was as strong as we could ever imagine,’ said Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of Nashville’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Tourism dollars in Nashville are made up of leisure, convention, and business travel. The CVB said leisure is mostly back but they’re working extra hard to build convention and business travel back up. And convention business however isn’t up to speed just yet.
“The convention sides probably worth at least a couple billion to the city in visitors spending. It’s usually a higher spend. Not only does it fill hotel rooms,” said Spyridon. The ripple effect is far more dramatic for the market than any of the other market segments, so its more important to get it back on its feet,” he added.
Conventions are about 40% of Nashville’s tourism business.
“This week the Southern Baptist will start a major rebound, major convention rebound,” they anticipated about 12,000 coming, starting Sunday they’re at 23,000 people,” Spyridon. “We saw the opportunity; We worked really hard to save the Baptist convention, to save the American institute of steel technology and tractor supply. Those are the three in the next month or so,” he added.
Spyridon said experts have been projecting the business travel aspect of tourism will be the slowest to recover
“We’ve got some new data yesterday that shows that really starting to pick up in the third and fourth quarter of this year. Which is welcome and surprising news to us. I still think it will lag behind the other two [leisure and convention],” said Spyridon. “But if it's back by the end of this year, then we’re in great shape to be back to 2019 levels by early to mid-2022,” he added.
And with more people making a stop in music city, News 4 asked how hotels are recovering
“Weekends, they’re running; the city is running around 80% but overall we’re running low 50’s to upper 50% for the average month and we just have to get that back up cause you’re not paying bills in the 50 percent,” said Spyridon.
The Nashville CVB predicts by the summer of 2022, Nashville should be back to 2019 levels of tourism.
“Then we establish the new bar and then we look at how do we grow from there. So I think we beat the experts' predictions by about the year,” Spyridon said.