Wapakoneta Daily News

Tourism is helping small, local, business


Small businesses in the U.S. that depend

on tourism and vacationer­s say business is

bouncing back, as Americans rebook postponed trips and

spend freely on food, entertainm­ent and souvenirs.

U.S. states and cities have loosened many of their restrictio­ns on crowd size and maskwearin­g, a positive

sign for businesses that struggled for

more than a year when theme parks

and other tourist attraction­s were shuttered.

Still, the return to a pre-pandemic “normal” is a way off for most. There are few

business travelers and internatio­nal tourists. Many businesses are grappling with staff

shortages and other challenges. And if a

surge of the more contagious delta variant

or another variant of the coronaviru­s forces states to reenact restrictio­ns or lockdowns, the progress might be lost.

The U.S. Travel Associatio­n, a travel industry trade group, predicts domestic travel spending will total $787 billion in 2021. That’s up 22% from 2020 but still

down 20% from 2019 levels. The associatio­n predicts travel spending won’t completely rebound above 2019 levels until 2024.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jenny Kimball, co-owner of the independen­t hotel La Fonda on the Plaza, with 180 rooms, said

her hotel is sold out through the summer and booked about 90%

on average for the fall. That’s a welcome change from the two

or three guests the hotel had at one point as

it stayed open during the height of the pandemic.

The clientele is different than prior to the pandemic: There

are more families and people working remotely, and they’re

staying longer, an average or four or five nights compared to two or three.

“Families want to come and stay longer and really vacation and see more of the city and more of the museums,” Kimball says.

Kimball’s biggest problem: A shortage

of workers in the restaurant, bar and kitchen. She urged vacationer­s to have


Heather Bise owns and runs a 7-bedroom

bed-and-breakfast in Cleveland, Ohio, near

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She

opened The House of Bise Bespoke in 2019 and catered to internatio­nal tourists, attracting guests from New Zealand, Botswana, Eastern Europe and other far-off


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