EUGENE, Ore. --- TrackTown USA officially reopened its home this weekend for its first track meet at the newly renovated Hayward Field. Local businesses are breathing a sigh of relief as more tourists come back to the area and give them a much needed financial boost.
Travel Lane County, a non-profit organization that tracks the number of tourists and direct visitor spending in the area said that even with limited spectators, local sporting events certainly help the economy.
"Just having the hundreds of athletes for meets like this past weekend really does help our economy," spokesperson Andy Vobora said. "They are staying at our hotels, eating at our restaurants, so that's really helpful."
Timbers Inn is a family owned lodging accommodation in Downtown Eugene. The owner, Joseph Bailey, said they were packed this weekend for the first time in a long time.
"For the first time in over a year, we actually sold out,"Bailey said.
Bailey said he doesn't know if athletes and their families personally stayed at his inn, but he believes the reopening of Hayward Field certainly helps his business.
"A lot of people come to Eugene particularly I think because of the reopening of Hayward Field," Bailey said.
He also said he anticipates more business during the U.S. Olympic Trials which is also taking place at Hayward Field.
"We're already starting to have people reserve for that, so we're really looking forward to it," Bailey said.
According to Travel Lane County, transient room growth tax came to an end in 2020 for the first time in 9 consecutive years.
Vobora said Lane County's visitor spending statistic for fiscal year 2020 will be released in about a month but he's expecting hundreds of millions in loss.
However, Vobora said Lane County's tourism industry is well-positioned to bounce back from the hits taken during the pandemic.
"Certainly good news to see Hayward Field activated again," Vobora said. "If the number of COVID cases stay down, we can look forward to marketing our area to local drive markets and regional drive markets."