Local businesses hope tourism goes up in coming weeks

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Businesses in and around Lubbock said they’re hoping to see tourism go up in the following weeks.

Sandra Harris, Executive Director of the American Windmill Museum, said a good portion of the museum’s business is driven by tourism. And since the pandemic started, they’ve seen fewer people.

“In a typical week we are seeing maybe 100 visitors maybe for the total week, and before that we were seeing that at 400,” said Harris, “We are hoping to see an increase soon.”

Harris said the museum has increased its social media participation to drive in business because being closed for six weeks amid the pandemic had a severe impact.

“We have really not seen numbers get back to normal yet,” said Harris.

John Osborne, President and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, said 2020 had a harsh impact on the local hospitality industry and that hotel occupancy is down by 20 percent. However, he said Lubbock has not done as bad as some other major cities in Texas.

“If you start to look at some of the Dallas and San Antonio areas and Austin, there are hotels that didn’t actually cover their expenses until December this last year from a month to month basis,” said Osborne.

Jolenna Carter, operations manger at Burklee Hill Vineyard, said consumer comfort has gone up in the past few months.

“We already have seen that over the last month with the vaccines that have come out,” said Carter. “People are starting to get a little more comfortable.”

Osborne said the governor’s elimination of the mask mandate and allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent could help drive tourism in the following weeks.

“I think as a whole we are going to see in the next 12 months and the next 18 months that more and more people will become interested in traveling and be more interested in coming to Lubbock.”

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