Apr 12, 2021 - News
Big events are returning to Des Moines
Illustration of a smiley face sticker wearing a face mask
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Concerts, sporting events and conventions are returning, pushing hotel bookings up since the darkest days of the pandemic, officials reported to Polk County supervisors last week.

  • Hundreds of metro area events were canceled during the pandemic, an economic hit of more than $317 million, Greg Edwards, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

Why it matters: Both jobs and our overall quality of life depend on a successful recovery — but we're not out of the woods just yet.

  • Business travel, a key segment of the hotel industry, could take more than a year to recover, Edwards said.
  • Social distancing and virtual attendance are still components of most events, so crowds are generally still smaller, Chris Connolly, general manager of the Iowa Events Center added.

A few DSM comeback highlights noted by Connolly and Edwards:

The bottom line: "A year ago it was doom and gloom, so this is awesome news," said Polk County supervisor Angela Connolly.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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