LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The hospitality and tourism industries in Lexington took another hit on Monday as a portion of the NCAA Tournament, that was to be held in Lexington, has been moved to one specific geographic area.
VisitLex has done the ground work to put Lexington on the map as a tourist destination. It is no secret 2020 has been tough, especially on downtown businesses who rely on tourists visiting during events.
"Overall, since the beginning of COVID, we have lost more than $100 million in room revenue and that's all sorts of things. That's Breeder's Cup, that's spring and fall racing, football games," Niki Heichelbach-Goldey, Director of Communications at VisitLex said.
The Lexington tourist agency says they were looking forward to the future to help turn things around. Part of that futre was NCAA tournament in March 2021, where Lexington was slated to host first and second round games.
"We estimate right now that we are losing about 3,500 room nights, just due to that first and second round. Now, keep in mind, that's just officials, teams, that sort of thing. That doesn't include the spectator room nights. That would be hard to estimate because we wouldn't really know where those teams are coming from until the last minute," Heichelbach-Goldey said.
VisitLex says they are trying to push Kentuckians to explore their own backyard, while also pushing for a federal relief package for the hospitality and tourism industry.
"As we see more events like this cancel, a federal relief package becomes even more important," Heichelbach-Goldey said.