Tourism in the city of Columbia is recovering after an unprecedented year in which COVID-19 left many businesses largely empty.
COLUMBIA, SC – Tourism in the city of Columbia is recovering from an unprecedented year in which COVID-19 left many businesses largely empty.
Rita Patel vividly remembers last March when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “The phones just rang, rang, rang on cancellations,” said Patel.
The guests of the Trundle Hotel, which belonged to her and her husband Marcus, withdrew. They had only been open for about two years.
“Lost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Patel, “and I remember looking over at Marcus and saying, ‘What is it? It can’t be real. ‘”
Still, like many small businesses, they held out.
“For Marcus and me, and I think a lot of small business owners, there is just no way we can fail,” said Patel. “We just have to modify and pivot.”
It’s better now at Hotel Trundle and elsewhere in town.
Charlene Slaughter with Experience Columbia says business and leisure travel have increased. You’ll also see more people passing through and residents hoping to get out.
“We’re starting to see how things open up. We’re seeing increasing interest in travelers, ”said Slaughter. “Last week our hotel occupancy was slightly more than 60 percent, compared to 39 percent in the previous year. This is great to see, and when we see such increases, it means not only that this is an asset to our hotels, but also to our attractions, our restaurants and other people who have to do with hospitality. “
Patel said bookings increased as vaccinations increased.
“We’re booked on the weekends, which is incredible. It gets busier during the week which is also amazing, ”said Patel. “We are just so grateful for our hotel, our team and our guests who have returned. It’s just so nice to see everyone again, good and happy. “
As tourism has increased, events are held across the city.