NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation estimates the city lost $4.5 billion in visitor spending in 2020. That's down by a staggering 50%, compared to 2019.
"That’s a pretty big hill to climb back up," said Butch Spyridon, the CEO of the Nashville CVC.
Who knows if the city will ever make up the money they lost in 2020, but with 2021 there is hope on the horizon. In Nashville, that's almost literal. Spyridon says there are several new developments adding to Nashville's skyline that could bring some new opportunities.
"You know, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy," said Spyridon.
He says more than 2,000 new hotel rooms are coming to Music City this year. Nashville Yards, which includes Amazon's new regional headquarters, will also open up in 2021.
We'll also see the grand opening for the National African American Museum of Music on MLK Day, along with new retail and restaurants inside the massive Fifth and Broadway development.
2021 may bring more sports fans back into their seats, with capacity hopefully increased for Titans games next season. The Music City Grand Prix is also slated to debut this summer.
Another anticipated event coming to Nashville in 2021 – the Frist Art Museum will host an exhibit full of works from Picasso. Nashville will be the only American city to host those paintings this year.
But Nashville's Rebound could start in slow motion. Spyridon anticipates a slight uptick in spending by this spring. "Maybe we start to see some real recovery in mid to late March," he said.
He hopes we'll be closer to normal by this summer. Spyridon says if hotels can get back up to half capacity, they'll at least stop losing money. "50%, 55% probably means we’re paying the bills. Above that, we start to make a little profit," said Spyridon.
In other words, Butch hopes the trickle of tourists returns to a mighty stream by this time next year.
"Let’s think about recovery and not think about looking backwards, we’ve got to look forward," said Spyridon.