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Hotel occupancy drops by half in May for Columbia

Columbia hotel
ABC 17 News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ) -

The number of Columbia hotel rooms used in May dropped by 50 percent compared to May 2019, according to numbers obtained by ABC 17 News.

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau said hotels reported an occupancy rate of 30.8 percent of the month of May. That's down from the 60.3 percent of rooms occupied in May 2019.

The drop is the third straight month Columbia saw a drop in hotel occupancy as COVID-19 has crippled the tourism and travel industry. The 30 percent drop is not as steep as the loss Columbia saw in April.

Columbia CVB strategic communications director Megan McConachie told ABC 17 News the department expects to see a loss in year-over-year occupancy rates for every month in 2020. McConachie said the losses should lighten as the year goes on.

May is typically a big month for visitors to Columbia, as colleges hold commencement events. Hotels were most occupied in June, July and September of 2019, according to data from the CVB.

While the city doesn't have complete data on hotel tax losses yet, McConachie said April's tax returns may come back $200,000 behind April 2019. The department relies almost entirely on the lodging tax to operate.

The city could still see the losses lighten this summer, as youth sports tournaments take place. The city has also worked to reschedule or replace some events that were moved back or canceled because of the pandemic.

ABC 17 News Investigates / Boone / News / Top Stories

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.

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