Tourism numbers rebound to pre-pandemic levels for Memphis

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 3:20 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis continues to rebound from the pandemic, according to new tourism numbers.

The number of hotel rooms sold in the first three months of 2022 increased significantly compared to 2021. The numbers are similar to those seen a year before the pandemic, according to Memphis Tourism.

This weekend, the city’s getting a big boost from the return of the Beale Street Music Festival and the Grizzlies in the NBA Playoffs.

People from near and far traveled to the Bluff City this weekend for the Beale Street Music Festival.

It’s a chance to enjoy live music after two long years of the pandemic.

“I love Memphis and after the pandemic, I’m like oh my God, I want to hear live music again,” said Liza Gerot, of Fort Smith, AR.

The music festival in Liberty Park in Midtown is expected to draw up to 70,000 people to Memphis.

“Music brings everyone together,” said Belle Laskey from Tulsa. “It’s exciting to see all different kinds of people out here for the same reason.”

At the same time, the Memphis Grizzlies are finding success in the NBA Playoffs, drawing fans downtown to watch the games in person at the FedExForum or at Fourth Bluff Park like on Friday night.

“I think it’s amazing. I’ve been down here since 1985. Most of these people weren’t even born then and it’s never been this much excitement for a basketball game,” said Cyndy Grivich Tucker.

The playoffs, the music festival and relatively low COVID-19 transmission numbers are all encouraging.

On top of this, new numbers show the city is on track for a big rebound in tourism this year.

The number of hotel rooms sold in Memphis during the first three months of 2022 is nearly 20% higher than last year, according to Memphis Tourism.

Analysts say those numbers are similar to what the city saw a year before the pandemic.

“The resilience of our local hospitality industry has kept our tourism economy moving in the most challenging of times and we are seeing a sustained rebound,” said Kevin Kane, President and CEO of Memphis Tourism. “The diversity of attractions and activities, along with the drivability and affordability of the Memphis destination have truly given us momentum, putting us in a strong position, often ahead of the national average on hotel occupancy. "

Memphis Tourism says hotels in the greater Memphis area are just one percent behind 2019.

Over three-quarters of visitors said live music was a key reason for visiting Memphis, according to Memphis Tourism.

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