NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Much of the hotel industry in Virginia's Hampton Roads region has recovered faster from the COVID-19 pandemic than almost any other market in the United States, according to an economic report released Tuesday.
The State of the Region, an annual analysis by economists at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, reports that the region's hotel revenue was 10% higher this June than it was in June 2019 before the pandemic began. Nationally, hotel revenue was down by 12%.
One reason for the quick recovery is that Hampton Roads' hotel industry relies more on people taking vacation than it does on people attending large events, such as conventions, conferences and concerts.
ODU economists also told The Virginian-Pilot last year that visitors typically arrive by car instead of flying, a method of travel that fell out of favor for many during the pandemic. Virginia Beach is typically a 3 1/2-hour drive from Washington, five hours from Philadelphia and about seven hours from New York.
There is one exception, however. The Williamsburg hotel market has not done as well, according to the report. The COVID-19 pandemic had temporarily shut down attractions like Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. And Colonial Williamsburg was already experiencing a downturn in visits prior to the pandemic.