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 Iowa State Poolplayers Tournament 8 & 9ball championships were held over the weekend, attracting roughly 1,000 people.
- Monster Jam, Drake Relays and the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference are coming later this month. The Dew Tour skateboarding competition and the Iowa Barnstormers are on deck for May, while the Ironman triathlon is coming in June.
- Eric Church will perform in February. Michael Bublé and Elton John are expected to reschedule pandemic-delayed concerts for late 2021 or early 2022.
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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