MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Covid 19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are declining in the US, that’s the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And local data reflects signs of progress, too, when it comes to room tax revenue during quarter 2, April to June.
In Janesville sits a 150 year old mansion turned bed and breakfast called Guardian Angel.
“It’s a big house to be by yourself,” says Guardian Angel owner Carol Larson. She has been just about the only occupant for the past year and a half. Fast forward to spring and summer of 2021, Larson’s phones are ringing, once again, with reservations.
“And now I do have people coming tonight and on the weekend, so things are turning around,” says Larson.
According to room tax revenue in Janesville, that’s the money cities get from people staying at hotels and bed and breakfasts, the city brought in $119,971 during Q2 in 2019, pre-pandemic. In Q2 2020, numbers fell to just $52,683. And now in Q2 2021, numbers are back up to $109,363. That’s 9-percent less than pre pandemic levels.
It’s a similar room tax story in Madison.
“We’re happy with the way things are trending,” says Rob Gard with Destination Madison.
Gard says early summer 2021 numbers were strong for the city’s hospitality industry after covid canceled 93 events in 2020.
“It’s been awesome seeing the farmers market return downtown. We’ve had some of our bigger events that have come back to Madison, and you’re starting to see a lot of license plates from out of state. So it’s really nice to see Madison returning to the destination it was pre pandemic,” says Gard.
Madison’s tax numbers tell a similar pandemic comeback story, numbers are trending in the right direction, but they’re still 50-percent less than pre pandemic numbers. In 2019 during Q2, Madison brought in $4,984,438 in room tax revenue. Then during the pandemic in 2020 Q2, that number fell to $713,390. And now in 2021, revenue is up to $2,523,680.
“Things are changing. They’re redoing the downtown and offering quite a few things for people now. I’m very happy. I hope people stay healthy and get out and about and enjoy themselves,” says Larson.
Gard says the hospitality industry is still struggling to find employees. He says before the pandemic there were 22,000 hospitality employees in Madison. 7,000 people lost their jobs during the pandemic in Madison’s hospitality industry.
NBC15 Investigates will be tracking room tax data until all our communities make a pandemic comeback.
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