Holiday Inn Express seen earlier this year after it temporarily shut its doors due to the pandemic. (Brandon Peoples/KMAN)

Tourism continues to be abysmal with hotels continuing to report very low occupancy rates across the board.

Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Karen Hibbard says for the month of August, the second week saw the highest occupancy rates at 61 percent.

“That was due to a military event here in town as well as students were moving back to Kansas State University. It was a combination of both,” she said.

Those numbers plunged by the final week of August when occupancy rates at Manhattan hotels fell to a low of 38 percent. Hibbard says CVB is prepared to host meetings under extreme amounts of caution regarding safety, but notes the confidence level from meeting planners just hasn’t come back yet.

“It’s just the fact as we gather and bring people together that there is a hesitancy to want to be together by meeting planners,” she said.

Despite this, the Manhattan Conference Center expansion is nearing completion and Hibbard says they’ll soon have virtual tours of the center posted online and will be able to schedule events at the site in the near future.

“I would encourage people to drive by and look at the expansion. It’s beautiful. The good news is that it’s way ahead of schedule. We did not anticipate that the Manhattan Conference Center would be done by September,” she said.

While meetings may be on hold for many, Hibbard says CVB is happy to accommodate other public events, such as weddings, birthday parties and other social gatherings.

“If you can envision it, if you are gathering it, certainly that venue is an ideal place where you could hold your events,” she said.


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