CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Tourism dollars in central Virginia are lagging behind by the millions, thanks to COVID-19.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVACB) reported that transient occupancy tax revenue, which comes from people staying in area hotels, was drastically lower last year compared to previous years.
Tourism normally creates more than $10 million during the summer and fall seasons. This year, tourism dollars are behind by roughly $3 million.
The CVACB said tourism not only impacts small businesses in the area, but also can determine how much the city and county budget has to allocate toward tourism efforts.
Courtney Cacacian, the executive director of CVACB, said its funds were down 21% based on numbers from the beginning of the pandemic. It’s expected to be hit even harder, based on a slower tourism season from July 2020 on.
“Right as we’re trying to welcome visitors back and people are getting vaccinated, we’re going to be hit hard to try to welcome those folks here,” Cacacian said.
If COVID-19 restrictions at the state, city, and county levels are relaxed, spring weddings could make up for some of that lost revenue. Cacacian said for now, it is uncertain if that will happen.