YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) We’ve just passed the 6 month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind we wanted to checking in on three different industries in our area to see how the pandemic has effected them and what they hope for the future — beginning with hospitality and tourism industry.
Experts say tourism builds cities and can contribute significantly to economic growth.
Billy Dunlap, President of Visit York County, says, “When they spend money in our hotels, restaurants, or attractions, that creates jobs, that creates an economic impact that really filters out into everything from pennies for progress, sales tax, accommodation s tax, hospitality tax, those all go to different things and York County.”
During this pandemic Hotels had taken a big hit. Visit York County leader say that in the second quarter of this year, hotel occupancy was down 25% and although those numbers are beginning to look better, hotel you’re still say that they hope they can continue to provide a service for this community.
“It’s unfortunately going to have a ripple effect for 2021 as well,” says Bonnie Whisenant, General Manager of the Wingate by Wyndham in Rock Hill. “It’s affected occupancy, it’s affecting employees, it’s affected our day-to-day routine honestly, our guest unfortunately it’s also affected them as well.”
Many hotel leaders saying they’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and have lost many valued employees because of the pandemic and shut downs.
“It’s going to take years to make that up, the dollar value on a typical every year, our rate is $139 to $159. We’ve had to go as low as $79, $89 on just regular daily rates. Everyone is actually discussing next year how we’re going about quoting groups coming in – we don’t even know what to do at this point because if things don’t go to somewhat of a norm then we have to look at our rates to see if the rate structure is within what they’re going to be looking for and to help with the market,” says Whisenant.
These hoteliers say they’re relying on tourism events that have been postponed until this spring to recoup some of their losses. But until that time they say they’re doing what they can to keep customers feeling safe.
“Here at the hotel we have to give our guest the knowledge that we’re doing everything we can to keep our hotel clean and safe for them when they’re coming through,” says Dilip Patel, owner of the Microtel & Suites in Rock Hill. “We’re doing extra cleaning, we have hand sanitizer in the lobby and elevator areas and stuff like that, we’re doing the extra cleaning and wearing a mask… So a little things that we do keep everyone safe.”
“Well I think for us it’s just a matter of continuing to make sure that we’re doing our marketing, make sure that we are continuing to sell that message that York County is a great place to visit we have a lot of great things to offer,” says Billy Dunlap.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with community and hotel leaders about their experiences up to this point.