Earlier this week, Roanoke City Council in a 4-3 vote approved a rezoning request that will allow a developer to build two hotels and a restaurant on the former Huff Lane school property near Valley View Mall.
As was expected, residents in the neighborhoods behind the property raised many objections, including the objection that there were plenty rooms enough to be had in existing hotels, and ones already underway.
The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau is heavily promoting “Virginia’s Blue Ridge” to tourists, and the localities have raised their hotel room tax rates this year in order to help fund the effort.
I just received this news release progress report for 2012, and thought it might be of interest as the debate continues as to whether the recent surge in hotel projects will create too many rooms at the inns.
Economic Indicators Show a Healthy Growth in the Tourism Industry for Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Hotel Room Demand Increased 5.8% in 2012
Hoteliers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge experienced a 5.8% upsurge in hotel room demand last year surpassing numbers generated prior to the Great Recession in 2007. According to figures provided by Smith Travel Research, 1,055,363 hotel rooms were sold during 2012, an increase of 57,873 rooms or 5.8% over 2011. The region also saw total room revenue increase 4.4% over 2011. The City of Roanoke collected a record amount of lodging tax revenue totaling $3,113,553 in 2012.
The Virginia Museum of Transportation reported a 32.6% increase in attendance in 2012 as the attraction welcomed visitors from all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 49 other countries. Of the museum’s visitors, 30% travel from more than 100 miles away and contribute approximately $2.2 million in direct tourism spending.
“It’s all about generating jobs and a positive impact on the region’s economy,” said Landon Howard, President of the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s also a testament to the distinctive quality of our destination and our industry’s dedication to working together to position Virginia’s Blue Ridge for continued growth.”