Conventions bring business back to uptown, help tourism rebound

CHARLOTTE — Around 10,000 people were in Charlotte last weekend for events at the Charlotte Convention Center, a sign that life is slowly returning to uptown.

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) CEO Tom Murray said the next quarters are booked solid. He said the newly renovated space at the convention center has led to 14 additional conventions that wouldn’t previously have been possible, and an additional 23 events are in the works.

Overall they are 40% ahead of pre-pandemic levels. The CRVA hosted an event Thursday to highlight the importance and benefits of in-person events and meetings.

“We’ve been hit with a lot of things in the face the last couple of years, and we are hoping we don’t face any more of those obstacles; but for right now; everything is going really well,” Murray said.

Conventions, along with other major tourist attractions like Charlotte FC and Charlotte Shout, have renewed life in uptown.

DoubleTree General Manager Bill DeLoache said Thursdays through Sundays are great.

“The leisure travel, vacationers, people attending events, that’s huge,” he said.

But he said Sundays through Wednesdays are still slow and will likely remain that way until business travel returns.

“I would hope by the fall, fingers crossed, we will be pretty close to some semblance of normalcy,” he said.

DeLoache said they predicted business travel would return in October 2021, and then in January 2022 -- neither happened. The hope is with major companies returning to the office this summer, business travel will return with them.

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