Pocahontas Tourism Amid a Pandemic
Since the economy of Pocahontas County is so reliant on maintaining a robust tourism industry, we wanted to know, a year into the pandemic, how has tourism faired here. Perhaps the best measurement of that is the revenues of the Hotel-Motel Tax. We asked our local expert on tourism in the county, Cara Rose, Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Cara, we hear about how the pandemic has devastated tourism areas and the travel industry around the country, how about here. Were we negatively impacted as well?
“Well, a year ago when the pandemic struck, we immediately saw a decline in overnight stays and visitation to Pocahontas County, which impacted the hotel-Motel Tax,” said Cara. “And we saw that for a number of months, and then when summer came around, we started to see some regain – some movement toward getting back to normal overnight stays. And by fall, we were starting to see that the Hotel-Motel Tax was getting close to the previous year’s collections. But over the winter months, we have seen a complete recapturing of all that overnight stay. I am happy to share that the months of January and February were the largest Hotel-Motel Tax collections in history for Pocahontas County. So, we have definitely seen a significant return of visitation to the county.”
“And, I really do think that for a place like Pocahontas County that has a tremendous amount of outdoor space with five state parks, two state forests and the Monongahela National Forest, that we have the tourism destination that people have been looking for. Because of the pandemic, people are looking for places to get away, to be outside recreating and looking for those cabins. So, we are actually in a great position to continue to see growth now with our tourism economy because of this. Not only did we see our return visitors come back, but we’ve been seeing new visitors coming to the county and overnighting and visiting and enjoying the great outdoors. Again, I think the tourism economy has an outdoor component that has really sustained our economy for all four seasons with spring, summer, fall and of course the winter months. The winter months do generate the largest portions of the hotel-motel Tax because of the visitors who are coming to ski and snowboard at the resort. Hence, that’s why the January and February months were the largest in history for the Hotel-Motel Tax. So, it is comforting to know that the tourism economy has rebounded to that level, and that it’s supporting the tourism businesses that have worked very hard to remain open safely for the visitor. I think that says a lot about our business partners and our communities that have been committed to the safety measures that we can provide a great destination and have that safety element a part of it. So, yeah, business is good for tourism”
Thank you, Cara,