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$125M in revenue lost with cancellation of Spokane's biggest events

With more and more events getting cancelled in Spokane County, the local economy continues to take a big hit.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Just about every major Spokane event is getting canceled or postponed due to coronavirus and it has led to millions of dollars in revenue loss. 

Most recently, Pig Out in the Park announced they will cancel this year’s event because of the pandemic and wait until September 2021.

When big events like Pig Out in the Park get canceled, it’s not only tough news for people who enjoy them, but also local businesses that rely on visitors to Spokane. Each cancelled event means lost revenue for the county.

RELATED: Pig Out in the Park won't happen in 2020 amid COVID-19 restrictions

"It's just all these events that we've seen canceled and it's devastating financially and economically for Spokane County,” said Kate Hudson, Visit Spokane.

Hudson said we might not know the exact long-term financial implications yet, but we do know the county is losing out on millions in revenue.

Here’s the amount of revenue Visit Spokane estimates is lost because they were cancelled:

  • NCAA tournament and PNQ: ~$20 million
  • Bloomsday: ~$12 million
  • Hoopfest: ~$50 million
  • Pig Out in the Park: ~$4.5 million
  • At least 65 conventions/meetings canceled: ~$41 million

"We're taking a huge financial hit and the people who suffer are the restaurants, and our shops, and out hotels, and all the things that we get to enjoy living here,” Hudson said.

Hotel Indigo Spokane opened up just last week. The owner, Curtis Rystadt said so far it's starting out slow.

"We just opened up so it's really slow, people haven't gotten to know us,” Rystadt said.

RELATED: Social distancing restrictions delay Spokane's Otis Hotel's grand opening

The hospitality industry is seeing major losses since the beginning of the pandemic. According to Visit Spokane, hotel occupancy down 61.6% compared to this time in 2019. Many hotels closed due to low occupancy, but are slowly bouncing back.

"It's hard, it's hard to predict regulations, things changing constantly,” Rystadt said.

RELATED: Hospitality industry in Spokane takes $21M hit during coronavirus crisis

The historic hotel is more than a hundred years old. Along with major renovations guest will now see new protocols to ensure safety from the virus.

“We built a great product, we have great service, fantastic food, it’s just a matter of time as people get more comfortable getting out and about that we'll start to have more patrons,” Rystadt said.

However, that might not be the case, Hudson said, some hospitality experts predict the industry won't return to normal until at least 2024.

"We are doing everything we can to market the region, remind people that Spokane is here,” Hudson said.

Recruiting visitors to the region is vital, as many businesses rely on out of town customers.

"There are people that are going to lose their business and their livelihood, their retirement, their dreams because of this,” Rystadt said.

RELATED: Hoopfest director explains how virtual event will work

RELATED: Bloomsday goes completely virtual amid rising coronavirus cases in Spokane