Louisville hospitality industry works to stay afloat during pandemic

Louisville hospitality industry works to stay afloat during pandemic
Kentucky International Convention Center reopened in August 2019 following a $200+ million renovation project.
Kentucky International Convention Center reopened in August 2019 following a $200+ million renovation project.

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WAVE) – The Kentucky Exposition Center reports only a slight thaw in the ongoing convention travel freeze brought on by COVID-19.

In October, five events at the state fairgrounds are expected to draw 29,000 people. Another 1,000 are expected to attend two events scheduled downtown at Kentucky International Convention Center, according to Kentucky Venues. But that 30,000 also includes Jefferson County residents who will be coming in for early voting. When compared to last year, 30,000 is just keeping Louisville convention business on life support.

“It’s significantly down from the number they may have booked last year or years before when they actually booked it,” said Karen Williams, president of Louisville Tourism. “And in some cases, it could be anywhere from 60 to 80 percent down from their original numbers.”

One event at the Kentucky Exposition Center found a creative way to work around the restrictions of COVID-19. On October 17, the Christian pop band For King & Country will perform a live drive-in concert.

“Not only are we going to park your car right where the experience is going to happen so you can go in and out of your vehicle,” said Ian Cox, a Kentucky Venues spokesman, “but you will have a designated spot right next to your vehicle that you’ll be able to put lawn chairs in.”

In the meantime, hotels are looking for ways to reach new customers. Occupancy rates at downtown hotels hover between just 9 and 12 percent.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.


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