Skip to main content

Omaha Magazine

Omaha CVB: Tourism Growth in the Metro

Sep 29, 2022 03:29PM ● By Deborah Ward
Omaha CVB's Deborah Ward

As we look back on 2022, the year has exceeded expectations. Despite the devastating impact of the global pandemic, more than $8 billion in development is happening throughout the city, reshaping the tourism landscape. This development is already bringing new activity to the area and inspiring increased out-of-town visitation. 

According to research, visitation to the metro area has surpassed pre-pandemic levels but hovers just under 2021 numbers. From January through June, Omaha welcomed 5.8 million out-of-town visitors–a 7.6% increase over 2019 and a 2% decrease from 2021 during the same time period. 

The hotel industry, hit particularly hard by the pandemic, is also seeing growth. Four new hotels opened in the past two years: The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel in Blackstone; the Hotel Indigo; the Peregrine Hotel; and The Farnam Hotel downtown. They all offer visitors new hotel concepts with their own unique
local twist. 

Two additional hotels are currently under construction: The Moxy Hotel in the Old Market; and the Holiday Inn Express in Blair. According to STR, a research company specializing in hotel data, two more hotels are in the final planning stages. Altogether, these four properties will add 310 hotel rooms to the city’s inventory by 2024. Currently, there are more than 9,700 hotel rooms in Douglas County; 15,000-plus in the
metro area.  

The question becomes: can Omaha generate the demand needed to support these hotels? In the first half of the year, hotel revenues surpassed 2019 levels by $9 million from January through June. 

At the end of the Great Recession in 2009, the Brookings Institution found that Omaha weathered that economic storm better than any other city in the country. While COVID brings its own unique economic challenges to the table, it appears history may be repeating itself, as Omaha continues to prove it can take a punch and get up swinging. 

Evvnt Calendar