But with hundreds of hotels, motels and other lodging properties around the state reeling, the $20 million in aid will go quickly.
“We’re going into next year and looking at nine to 12 months of limited service and opportunity. I don’t think a lot of businesses are going to survive it,” said Amy Supple, chief operations officer for the 202-room Edgewater, which in 2014 completed a $100 million expansion and renovation. “I’m really concerned about what Madison looks like as a destination. It could be years before it recovers.”
Tourism in Dane County, with its lakes, UW-Madison, state government, Alliant Energy Center, Monona Terrace, museums, theaters, shopping opportunities, WIAA state tournaments and scores of special events, had a $2.3 billion economic impact in 2019, ranking it behind only Milwaukee County’s $3.8 billion in tourism spending. But this year, the economic impact will be reduced to shockingly low numbers.
The city of Madison in 2019 collected $18.9 million in room tax revenue but in the second quarter of 2020, room tax collections were $705,385, down from $4.4 million in the second quarter of 2019, a reduction of 85%, according to figures from David Schmiedicke, the city’s finance director. Schmiedicke estimates total room tax collections for 2020 could be in the neighborhood of $8 million.
Deb Archer, who will retire at the end of the year as president and CEO of Destination Madison, said leisure travel is accounting for most of the bookings at area hotels, but properties in Downtown Madison are feeling the effects of the pandemic the most because they rely more on business travel.
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