Destination Cleveland Releases 2021 Travel and Tourism Numbers

17% visitation growth from 2020 to 2021 outpaces state of Ohio, but lags behind national average.

Destination Cleveland Releases 2021 Travel and Tourism Numbers
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Cuyahoga County recorded a 17% increase in total visitors from 2020 to 2021, according to the tourism agency Destination Cleveland, a rebound rate that far outpaced the state of Ohio's (9%) but lagged behind the nationwide average (28%).

Locally as elsewhere, the tourism industry was ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the total number of single-day and overnight visits in 2021 reached roughly 82% of pre-pandemic levels. Employment in the industry bounced back too, to 93% of its mark in 2019.

“The recovery of Cuyahoga County’s travel and tourism industry is well underway as all key performance indicators returned to an upward trajectory in 2021,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland, in a statement.

Gilbert said that the County was on pace to fully return to 2019 tourism levels by 2024, though he warned of "headwinds" affecting multiple sectors: inflation, supply chain disruption and ongoing staffing shortages. 

"Despite these challenges," he said," "we are laser focused on stewarding the recovery in collaboration with the region’s hospitality businesses and our civic partners. Together, we will return the industry to its position as a growth sector."

Though real-time tourism and hospitality numbers are limited, Destination Cleveland said the region's lodging numbers in 2022 were strong, with year-to-date occupancy levels at 93% o where they were in 2019.

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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