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Wake Has Lost $47M In Tourism So Far

Empty public space in downtown Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn

Wake County has lost an estimated $47.2 million as tourism has come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report from Visit Raleigh, more than 85 large scale events have been canceled or rescheduled. Hotel occupancy rates this month are down almost 70% from usual levels. As a result, the county has postponed planned projects including expansions at the Marble Kids Museum or Dorothea Dix Park.

Visit Raleigh President Dennis Edwards says there's really no way to make up the lost revenue that would have helped fund those projects. He explains it's predicated on people visiting Wake County.

"Until consumer confidence is back and people want to travel, they feel safe and comfortable enough to travel, there's really not much we can do to find a new customer," he said.

The hospitality industry in Wake County employs around 67,000 people. Edwards estimates 59,000 of those jobs have been lost.

Celeste Gracia covers the environment for WUNC. She has been at the station since September 2019 and started off as morning producer.
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