GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The coronavirus pandemic is still hitting the travel and tourism industry hard. However, directors with ‘Visit Greenville” say they’re excited for the future.
“I think our citizens are going to be really excited about some of the things that are on the horizon,” said Andrew Schmidt, president and CEO of Visit Greenville NC.
“The pandemic obviously has had an effect on a lot of different types of businesses, but I think the travel and tourism industry has been affected the most by the pandemic,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt has high hopes for the new year. Those hopes are looking towards more COVID vaccine shots.
“These vaccinations kind of represent a new beginning for the travel and tourism industry where we can start, and it will be a very very gradual process but we can start booking those meetings and events again for the future,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt says some of the first things they anticipate adding, or just keeping on the schedule, are conventions and sports events that can bring people to Greenville. For example, the August debut of the Little League Softball World Series was something cancelled last summer because of COVID.
“The fact that we are talking about it is really exciting because for the last nine months, we haven’t been able to do a whole lot of anything,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt’s team is getting a boost in efforts to draw in tourists. They have received over $100,000 in grant money.
“We also got $21,000 in grants for some video projects, so we were actually able to market pretty heavily in the fall to try and keep Greenville and Pitt County on people’s radars,” Schmidt said. “To get them traveling into Greenville and Pitt County for not events but for retail and shopping, the restaurants and so forth.”