CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With three days of NFL Draft events, thousands of people from across the country are expected to visit the city of Cleveland. According to Destination Cleveland, most hotels are now booked up.
The NFL Draft is breathing life into Downtown Cleveland once again.
“We’ve been cautiously optimistic since the beginning of the year since the first of the year and particularly more optimistic after seeing the NFL host the Super Bowl in Tampa,” said Emily Lauer, senior director of PR for Destination Cleveland.
It’s a major win for the local travel and tourism industry since getting hit by the pandemic.
According to Destination Cleveland, downtown hotels averaged about 20 percent occupancy. This week, hotels are averaging 80 to 90 percent, and most are sold out.
Lauer says even with the 18 hotels located downtown; there’s overflow to hotels in the suburbs and surrounding cities.
She says there’s a mix of both residents and visitors booking hotel rooms.
“There are some residents maybe that just wanted to be here both nights and so why not make it a staycation and then, of course, we are ready to welcome visitors, and we expect to welcome visitors this week,” said Lauer.
There are still several health and safety guidelines in place at hotels to keep visitors safe.
Destination Cleveland expects local hotels won’t see pre-pandemic occupancy levels until 2023 or 2024.
Official numbers from the NFL Draft won’t be available for some weeks. Lauer says this week’s momentum gives them hope as we head into the summer.