After a 2020 filled with turmoil, cautious optimism abounds in Houston

2021 is bringing cautious optimism to Visit Houston/Houston First Corporation. The city is scheduled host a record-breaking 14 conventions from July to December.
2021 is bringing cautious optimism to Visit Houston/Houston First Corporation. The city is scheduled host a record-breaking 14 conventions from July to December.

HOUSTON, Tex. – With a COVID-19 vaccine now available, there is cautious optimism across the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries in Houston.

According to Visit Houston/Houston First Corporation, the city is seeing a clear trend of meeting and conventions being scheduled for the second half of 2021. In fact, Houston is preparing for a record-breaking six-month stretch of citywide conventions, with 14 scheduled to take place from July to December 2021, compared to the 12 scheduled for the same timeframe in 2019. Houston First has also successfully rebooked 92 percent of citywide conventions into future years.

As a result of new health measures and technological enhancements that were introduced in the last half of 2020, Houston First’s sales division saw a 64 percent average increase in meeting-led room nights in September through November 2020.

Some of the 2020 health and technology highlights include:

  • Introduction of Houston Clean: A citywide commitment to enhanced health precautions designed to mitigate virus spread.
  • New virtual studio: Providing more flexibility and connectivity for hybrid functions, this studio has been used by six events, which represent $200,000 in revenue.
  • New integrated viral protection: Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center became the first convention center in the nation to implement Medistar Corp’s new biodefense air filtration system.
  • GBAC STAR accreditation: Several venues in the city have achieved GBAC STAR accreditation, the industry-recognized highest standard for prepared facilities.

Houston is also seeing a surge of major developments, from large-scale attractions to a number of new hotels. Here are some of the important venue updates in the city:

  • Houston Botanic Garden (Opened September 2020)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building (Opened November 2020)
  • Blossom Hotel Houston Medical Center (Opening April 2021)
  • The Ion (Opening March 2021)
  • POST HTX (Anticipated opening in fall 2021)
  • Texas Medical Center Research Campus (Opening 2022)
  • Hilton University of Houston (Expansion/renovation expected in 2022)
  • Axiom Space at Houston Spaceport, the world’s first commercial space station (Opening date TBD)

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