PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It is no secret that COVID-19 caused immense strain on the local event and entertainment industry.
With continued lockdowns and capacity restrictions many Portland venues were forced to shut their doors or adapt to more pandemic-relevant functions, as illustrated with the Oregon Convention Center mass vaccination site.
However, as restrictions loosen, KOIN 6 News reached out to Oregon Metro to find out how the space is recovering its event calendar amid major setbacks caused by COVID-19.
According to Oregon Convention Center executive director Craig Stroud, “OCC’s last full year of business prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was 2019, and OCC hosted 527 events.”
Stroud said currently the space has secured contracts for 157 “definite events” for 2022, and 69 for 2023.
Despite the obvious decline in calendar events, Stroud said those figures do not necessarily represent the total number of conventions that are slated to be held.
“While those figures appear low compared to 2019’s figures, OCC’s contracting policies prioritize the center’s assets for large national conventions with accompanying hotel room commitments,” Stroud explained. “In June of 2022, OCC will begin converting tentative holds with local or smaller event clients to contracted and definite status, and event figures will increase.”
Stroud told KOIN 6 News, although the 2022 event calendar was hit hard by the pandemic, the number of bookings for 2023 are reportedly above the average trends for previous years.
He suggested with a year of recovery, current numbers project 2023 could be a very busy calendar year for OCC.
“Event recovery in 2022 is directly impacted by COVID-19. Calendar year 2023 is currently a much stronger event year,” Stroud stated.
He continued, “Looking forward in the calendar to future year business levels, total hotel room nights associated with OCC bookings are 28% below historical pace for 2022. And 8% above historical pace for 2023.”
For a list of upcoming events at the Oregon Convention Center visit here.