CLEVELAND — Tourism is making a comeback in Northeast Ohio this summer.
Data from STR, a benchmarking and analytics company that focuses on the hospitality industry, shows more people are coming to visit Cuyahoga County, with hotel occupancy rates increasing every month this year so far.
In June this year, occupancy was at 58% -- 63% higher than in June 2020.
To put that into perspective, in five years pre-pandemic, occupancy at hotels in June averaged just above 70%.
"People are just eager to get back out, eager to travel, eager to, in many ways, spend where they couldn't spend on travel before,” said Destination Cleveland president and CEO David Gilbert.
There’s still a ways to go, but Gilbert is optimistic things are on the right track for full recovery.
“I think we're seeing that we can rebound in terms of total number of visits, which were at 19.6 million visits a year for leisure or business travel in 2019. We may be able to get back to that level potentially even in ’22,” said Gilbert.
While those tourists are in town, they’re taking advantage of all Cleveland has to offer.
Saturday, the House of Blues hosted its first concert since the pandemic started. The show was headlined by Mammoth WVH, a rock band fronted by Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang.
“I’m super excited to be in Cleveland, I drove four hours, all the way from Kalamazoo, Michigan to see Mammoth and Wolfie Van Halen,” said concertgoer Suzanne Drews.
Music fans have also been flocking to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“We have seen fans from all over the world,” said Hannah Wilson, the manager of fan engagement at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Rock Hall estimated 63,044 fans would visit between May and July in 2021, but instead they more than doubled that number with 141,294 visiting during that time period. However, it's still shy of their pre-COVID-19 numbers during that time period (206,914).
“It’s been amazing having fans joining us here at the museum again, and being able to get everyone in here while still making sure that we're being safe and healthy through these trying times,” said Wilson.
Even as uncertainty creeps up alongside COVID-19 cases, locals and tourists are hopeful the good vibes are in Northeast Ohio to stay.
“If we got to put our masks back on again that's okay but I'd much rather be going to concerts with a mask than sitting at home watching virtual pay-per-view concerts like we've been doing for the last year and a half,” said concertgoer Adam Drake.
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