HOUSTON — Things are looking up for big in-person events in Houston.
A single convention has already booked thousands of hotel rooms. It’s a huge turnaround after a year of shutdowns and virtual-only events.
"It’s been a hard impact for a lot of the hotels in the downtown area,” said Aerial Washington with Hyatt Place downtown.
It recently opened in the converted Southwestern Bell building where they hope to connect with a lot of new guests via a host of upcoming conventions.
"They definitely carry us through a lot of the time," Washington said. "So seeing them come back and knowing we’re going to gave more later on in the year is a very exciting thing we’re looking forward to.”
Among the varied events scheduled for the George R. Brown Convention Center alone starting in July include and Imperial Session of Shriners, MENSA World Gathering and return of the massive International Quilt Festival.
The Offshore Technology Conference will also be back at NRG Center.
"It brings people from all over the world,” said OTC Chair Cindy Yeilding.
Yeilding said the annual Houston event was cancelled last year because of the pandemic then postponed to August this year as a precaution.
"In a typical year we will have 60 or 65,000 people," Yeilding said. "But we’ve brought as many as 108,000 in 2014." "So obviously, a significant impact for the Houston area.”
The National Rifle Association’s annual convention is set for September in Houston. Its anticipated impact includes more than 70,000 attendees and a $55 million economic boost.
The organization told KHOU 11 it has already contracted 7,000 rooms in 40 hotels.
"Seeing everything grow and come back and knowing that conventions are coming back into downtown Houston," Washington said. "We’re optimistic for the future.”
In Galveston, the city expects to welcome 41 groups which will generate an estimated 15,800 lodging room nights from May through July 2021.
It's not just conventions. Concerts and other events are returning to many other venues as well.