NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When the pandemic hit Nashville last spring, Butch Spyridon's office hit a wall. "No real conventions of any size at all," said Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.
For the last year, other than vaccinations, Music City Center has sat empty. Fittingly, it's those vaccines that make the next steps forward, possible. "We’re ready to do it like we used to do it," said Spyridon.
Now that Nashville is more than 30% vaccinated, Mayor John Cooper's office has announced that Metro Public Health can approve conventions and corporate meetings with up to 3,000 guests. But the corporate crowds won't return overnight. "It’s not a flip the switch and three thousand people show up," said Spyridon.
Spyridon says these events require a lot of planning and assurances that Nashville will stay open for business. "Some are still threatening to cancel and some are gearing up to be here as normal, so -- vaccine, vaccine, vaccine," he said.
Even if you don't actually attend the conventions, chances are, you will feel the impact. Monday from these events go a long way towards helping the city operate.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper's Press Secretary sent us the following statement about the economic impact of reopening conventions in Music City:
"A safe return of larger events is critical to Nashville's rebound. Conventions and corporate meetings bring spending at local businesses, nights in hotel rooms and meals at restaurants. That spending helps our local economy. That's why our city is fully committed to the vaccination effort, investing time and resources into our '50 by 50' drive to hit 50% of Davidson County vaccinated by May 1."
Spyirdon says visitor spending is worth nearly $8 billion of Nashville's economy each year. 40% of that comes straight from conventions. "40% of that is a lot of sales tax and a lot of jobs. And it is critical to both the city and the state’s functioning economy," he said.
Not to mention, more booked hotel rooms and dinners down on Broadway. "We have to get that business back because we can’t go another six months without convention business," said Spyridon.
So as long as we keep our momentum, Spyridon is starting to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. "Three days a week does not pay the bills, so we need to fill the first half of the week," he said.
What is the rebound?
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