Charleston leaders say COVID response efforts have boosted tourism in 2021

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Capital leaders say 2021 was about adjusting to a changing world as the COVID-19 crisis continued.

Matt Sutton

“The most important thing about 2021 that was so difficult was the inability to plan. You never knew what was to come, ”said Matt Sutton, chief of staff to Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin.

Sutton joined Tim Brady, CEO of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, on Monday’s “580 Live” broadcast on MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS to reflect on key moments from the past year.

The city’s response to the pandemic is what has captured the interest of tourists not only in Charleston, but across West Virginia, Brady said.

“I could look at the end of my website, which is a CVB website focused on tourism, and see that interest in this area has increased,” he said. “People would see a positive report about how we have dealt with COVID, and then they would look to see ‘what is there to do there? “”

Tim brady

Charleston has been a model for other cities facing an early rise in COVID cases, Sutton said.

“People were watching more here because of the success and the aggressive approach we have all taken to dealing with COVID. As soon as we had resources at our disposal, we took action, ”he said.

Brady said that when you look back to 2021, things in the city really started to improve during the summer months.

“A big part of that was the TBT (the basketball tournament) that we had in July which was a ‘coming out’ party for the city. It was reappearing from the darkest part of the pandemic and bringing significant numbers of people to the city safely, ”Brady said.

People also really needed to get out and enjoy baseball again, Brady said, adding that the Charleston Dirty Birds name change earlier this year was an exciting time for fans.

“You talk about a new league, a new front office leadership, a new manager, new players, all over a period of about three weeks and they almost won their first round playoff series.” , did he declare.

City leaders have said they look forward to more use of places like the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center next year.

“You’re going to see an explosion in indoor youth sports in 2022,” Brady said. “There is no such thing as a virtual volleyball tournament. People will go out and travel, driving thousands of people into downtown Charleston. “

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