It has been a year full of challenges, and on Wednesday night Visit Alexandria’s annual report was different than years past. The event was virtual and this year the city’s tourism bureau and city leaders thanked and congratulated business owners and the community for making it this far through the pandemic.
“I’ve been inspired over the last six months to see the businesses in our community bravely fight through the worst year they have ever seen, mustering their incredible creativity, their flexibility and their partnership.,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, adding that the city lost $12 million in consumption-based taxes that have not been collected.
Visit Alexandria President and CEO Patricia Washington said that the bottom dropped out of hotel occupancy in April, which is historically the strongest month for visitation.
“The D.C. region lost 125,000 of 275,000 hospitality jobs in March and April, almost half of the sector’s employment,” Washington said. “We have since recovered about 40,000 of those jobs, but we still have a long way to go.”
Washington said that Visit Alexandria’s ALX at Home portal has gotten 4.9 million paid marketing impressions, and that more than 400 businesses are participating in the Health Department’s voluntary ALX Promise accreditation program.
Washington thanked Alexandria businesses for adapting to the times.
“Ultimately, I believe Alexandria will rise to the moment,” Washington said. “Our ability to be nimble, our character as a small city, our entrepreneurs and our genuine care for each other are the hallmarks of a great place, and people want to visit great places. Whatever these days may throw at us, we are clearly united in our love for our city and in the privilege of advancing its future.”
Here’s our tribute to Alexandria’s small businesses, hospitality workers, health department and city government, who are standing together in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. We thank you! pic.twitter.com/IQ7c6n9zwb
— Visit Alexandria VA (@AlexandriaVA) September 23, 2020