Local officials: Coronavirus not impacting tourism in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge says business remains strong

ROANOKE, Va. – The coronavirus continues to dominate headlines, but Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge is not panicking.

“Business is still good. We’re receiving approximately 5,000 inquiries per day with people interested in coming here,” said Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge President Landon Howard on Wednesday.

The elephant in the room, perhaps, for the organization, is the Ironman race in June.

As of Wednesday, the race, which is expected to be a huge economic boost for the area, was still on as other large events locally and nationally have been canceled or postponed.

“We want our customers to come back again and again. So any clients that might have concerns, we will work with them," Howard said.

Virginia Western Community College postponed a festival this weekend out of an abundance of caution because some kids would be coming in from outside the area.

Josh Meyer, the college’s marketing and communication director, said future events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“We’re holding events now and we feel very confident that everyone is safe and healthy,” said Meyer.

Orvis, which canceled an event at the Hotel Roanoke next weekend, said in a statement to 10 News the Down the Hatch Festival at Elmwood Park in Roanoke scheduled for next weekend is being reevaluated daily.

The Hotel Roanoke sent 10 News a statement regarding Orvis’s event being canceled.

It says, in part, “We are seeing growing concerns and inquiries at Hotel Roanoke and are doing our best to monitor the situation on a daily basis. We do expect an impact to be felt at the hotel through leisure travel and conference business as well as throughout the world in the hospitality and tourism sector.”

The Salem Civic Center also sent 10 News a statement Wednesday regarding events there, saying any decisions about events “will be predicated on recommendations from authoritative health agencies.”

A sign at one of the many entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway across the Roanoke Valley.
A sign at one of the many entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway across the Roanoke Valley. (WSLS)