PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hotels in Portland are welcoming visitors again after more than a year of COVID-19 shutdowns and travel restrictions.

Hotel Vance is one of the city’s newer hotels. The 180-room hotel located near Portland State University and the Performing Arts Center reopened in July.

The former Radisson Red is now under the Marriott umbrella.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” said General Manager Jacob Wright. “What you saw before the pandemic was Portland was all the talk. You saw that from meeting planners, you saw that from travelers.”

According to Travel Portland, 55 hotels in downtown Portland and the Lloyd District saw nearly 80% occupancy in 2017. Occupancy rates remained high through 2019, despite hundreds of new hotel rooms opening.

But the pandemic hit hard in 2020 and hotel occupancies plummeted to 30%. Many hotels closed, including Oregon’s largest: the new Hyatt Regency at the Oregon Convention Center. It also recently reopened.

Other newer hotels, including the Porter, are seeing visitors return. Occupancies have crept up to nearly 35% since the beginning of 2021.

“I think what that inventory showed you was that a lot of people want to come to Portland and enjoy everything that it has to offer and I still think that’s going to be the case in the future,” said Wright.

Wright remains optimistic despite Portland’s obvious problems with homelessness, crime, business closures and the lasting impact of unrest that damaged the city’s reputation.

This spot at Portland’s Hotel Vance is where former Seattle Seahawks’ great Marshawn Lynch will put his new restaurant, September 27, 2021 (KOIN)

The new Ritz-Carlton Hotel is moving ahead with its plan to open in 2023 and existing hotels are upping their game to attract visitors and locals alike. Former Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch is opening his new restaurant “Beast” at Hotel Vance.

Portland’s tourism industry is caught in an uphill battle but it’s one the city is determined to win. There are nearly 10,000 hotel rooms in Portland’s central city, which includes the Lloyd District. Travel Portland is working on strategies to bring back visitors, meetings and conventions.