by Charlie McIlvain,
KCVB President & CEO
What a difference a month or six weeks makes. In early March, the Kerrville hospitality industry was positioned and anticipating the best spring and summer season ever.
The Kerrville travel industry experienced eight consecutive years with increases in hotel occupancy, strong event and activity attendance and continual increase in visitors arriving in Kerrville to experience the quality of life that we as residents of Kerrville, Kerr County and the Texas Hill Country, enjoy daily.
Just prior to mid-March that euphoria came crashing down as the reality of the Coronavirus and its impact on the economy set in. Hotel occupancy drastically diminished, restaurants were almost empty, attendance at area attractions was nonexistent, conferences and events were cancelled and new first-time events and attractions that were initially scheduled to take place in the next year were cancelled or postponed.
As the economy came to a screeching halt, employees in the hospitality industry that haven’t been furloughed or laid off are meeting the challenge and are doing whatever it takes to keep the hospitality commitment alive. Wait staffs from area restaurants are providing meals curbside or are delivering meals to consumer’s homes since they are unable to “dine-in” at area restaurants. Hotel and attraction executives and existing employees are busy sprucing up their facilities.
The Kerrville hospitality industry is not alone in these efforts. The health care industry, the automobile industry, almost every business in Kerrville is working toward the same goal ... to survive this crisis and be prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities that will avail themselves as we move forward.
Perhaps not since World War II and the days of housewives becoming “Rosie the Riveters,” or women learning to fly in order to deliver aircraft or other needed supplies to the troops, have we experienced the commitment of doing whatever it takes to get through this situation.
The bright side to this scenario is that we will get through this crisis. We’ll be leaner and more vibrant as we all work together to welcome a brighter future for our families, our city and our nation.
Despite the current situation, I encourage everyone to take a breath, give thanks to the Lord for our blessings and ask for his guidance. Enjoy the Easter Season!
Charlie McIlvain is the Kerrville Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO.