Restaurants and the local economy continue to recover from COVID
Visit Alexandria highlighted the partnerships and resilience to the Alexandria business pandemic at its 2021 annual meeting on Thursday evening.
During the event, on the theme “Meeting the Challenge – Embracing Change”, Visit Alexandria also announced new strategies to promote tourism and hotel stays in Alexandria.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, countless restaurant and hotel managers called Mayor Justin Wilson to ask how they could help. These managers “were grappling with decisions they never imagined they would make, and they always found a way to give back to our community and help us put that in our rearview mirror,” Wilson said at the meeting. “We are coming back as a city. We are absolutely coming back.”
Meal tax receipts have increased every month this year, Wilson noted, and are now higher than they were before the pandemic, indicating strong support for local restaurants. Hotels are experiencing a much slower recovery as business travel has yet to regain pre-pandemic levels, but this trend line is moving in the right direction.
Visit Alexandria has made significant and rapid adaptations to its approach to promoting Alexandria as a destination, including creating new programs, flexible hotel programs, and showcasing restaurants and outdoor activities. In addition, Visit Alexandria worked with the Alexandria Health Service to launch the ALX Promise program – and over 400 companies signed up.
Additionally, funding and support from the City of Alexandria has enabled city council and staff to lead the way with multiple zoning and economic adaptations, including expanded outdoor dining areas and the pedestrian block of the Lower King Street, while back-to-business grants were launched. and supported by the Partnership for the Economic Development of the City of Alexandria (AEDP).
In addition, the city’s “Think Small” destination travel campaign, which leveraged Alexandria’s ranking among the top 5 small towns by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, took advantage of research that found travelers to feel more comfortable in small towns and cities.
“For the Alexandria takeover, we know that the health of our industry depends a lot on the health of our industry,” said Patricia Washington, President and CEO of Visit Alexandria. “These numbers are positive indicators of progress, but it is clear that we still have a long way to go. “
Visit Alexandria recognized retired City Manager Mark Jinks and his transformational contributions to the city and the hospitality industry as Jinks is expected to retire at the end of this calendar year.
Visit Alexandria also featured a video (below) that honors the city’s frontline hotel staff, showcasing the resilience and dedication of the people who keep small businesses, tours, attractions and hotels running. and work on recovery.
Visit Alexandria is planning several new promotions for Alexandria for the coming year.
With funding from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Visit Alexandria’s 34% increase in advertising efforts will include new media like audio streaming and Expedia, as well as an increased presence on YouTube, connected television and native advertising. ARPA’s advertising expansion includes outreach to an audience of color with two new advertising campaigns: a Spanish-language campaign on regional print, radio and social media channels and the Drop travel campaign. -In Black which just launched with iconic and new travel experiences.
In Spring 2022, Visit Alexandria will launch a new website featuring a mobile-focused design, faster page speed, new mapping and more. As small towns with big tourism ambitions continue to shine, Alexandria will capitalize on its new ranking # 3 on Condé Nast TravelerThe best small towns of 2021 list on different media.