LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) When Governor John Bel Edwards issued a stay-at-home order in March, Acadiana immediately started seeing convention and sporting event cancellations. That impacted hotels.
“Today we have lost 38,000 room nights from just the meetings, sports and convention parts of our business. That doesn’t include leisure, doesn’t include corporate, doesn’t include festivals or any of that, just meetings, sports and conventions, and that’s a loss of about $51 million in economic impact,” Ben Berthelot, President and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, said.
Berthelot says less business meant hotels had to cut back on staff.
“Our largest property, the Double Tree, went down from 130 employees down to 12, and that’s a story we’re seeing all across the area,” he added.
He says the sports market is the fastest-growing market in the area, and luckily, Governor Edwards opened up the sports market in Phase 1.
“We know there will be many tournaments coming up over the course of the summer,” he said.
“Until the meetings and conventions part of our business comes back, we’re going to have to rely on that sports market.”
Berthelot says he hopes that will bring back hotel jobs, and by fall, he believes Acadiana could host events and even festivals again.
It all depends on what Governor Edwards allows to re-open in Phases 2 and 3.
“We have a chance to have a pretty good fall if we’re allowed to open back up our facilities and everything that comes along with hosting events.”