The Fargo-Moorhead metro has seen a hit to the travel and hospitality industry since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

Charley Johnson, Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Convention and Visitors Bureau (FMWF CVB), tells WZFG Radio that the travel and hospitality industry’s picture is “bleak”, saying that the industries took a hit when the pandemic began in March. While hotels are the primary constituent of the FMWF CVB, bars, restaurants, local attractions and retail are other constituents under the arm of the FMWF CVB. They all “have been devastated by this,” Johnson tells WZFG Radio.

Overall numbers are considerably low across the hotel sector in the metro area. For example, Johnson says occupancy in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo hotels, for the week ending May 2, was 23.5 percent, compared to 57 percent at the same time last year. In the same time period, revenues are running at 75 to 76 percent compared to last year’s pace, Johnson said.

“All of those things have been ‘brutally hit’ by the shutdown,” he said.

At its worst, Johnson said, occupancy at hotels had been running in the low teens, percentage wise. But, thanks to business travel, the hotel industry has been sustained.

Even though the hotel industry has been sustained, the community has lost nearly five million dollars in visitor spending into the month of May, Johnson said. He says that “financial disruption” is likely already occurring because of the pandemic.