VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Those who track business at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront think this could be a record summer.
At the Doubletree by Hilton Virginia Beach, 292 rooms are sold out. As 10 On Your Side has reported, the statistics show hotel occupancy already hitting between 63-70%.
President of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association John Zirkle operates the Doubletree Hotel.
“I was on the phone yesterday, and a few still had rooms. Many were sold out, but there are a few [hotels] having to hold back a few rooms just because they don’t have the staff to service them, unfortunately,” he said.
The only obstacle that may be standing between a record summer and a good summer is how the lack of workers plays out. Zirkle blames in part continuing unemployment benefits that keep people at home.
“From the 1,100 jobs, I told you we need right now that is now down to under a thousand. We still need 920 jobs to meet the demand at hotels,” he said.
Lack of workers is also blamed on J-1 visa workers not being able to get to the country due to COVID-19 — but that could be changing.
“The good news interviews are being scheduled with embassies from other countries. We could be getting more J-1 workers, but much later in the season,” Zirkle said.
Across the street at the Virginia Beach Sports Center, thousands of wrestlers on 360 teams were getting ready Friday for the National High School Coaches Association 22nd Annual National Duals that begins Saturday.
It means big money flowing into hotels, restaurants, and the economy.
They are also getting ready for the summer over at Peabody’s, where police met with business owners to map out the summer ahead.
Tony Schmidt with 21st Street Seafood Company was also expected to be at the 3 p.m. meeting Friday.
BELOW: VB police, business owners meet to plan for upcoming season at the Oceanfront
“It’s a safety meeting to brief police presence, and I believe police taking over The Boxx is a positive development,” Schmidt said.
As we’ve reported, The Boxx restaurant and bar will be turned into a Virginia Beach satellite police office.
“I am very positive about 2021. A lot of the restaurants and businesses at the Oceanfront are going to be looking for the best summer we have had in years.” Schmidt added.
10 On Your Side found a woman named Amanda walking down Atlantic Avenue. We asked what she thought of Virginia Beach.
“This is the first time I’ve been here… The smells of clean flowers is stunning,” she said.
This is forward-thinking by the city, as the trees that smell nice were planted to spread the positive aroma.
People told 10 On Your Side time and time again how clean Atlantic Avenue is.
Credit for that goes to the Virginia Beach Resort Area Ambassadors like Savon White. Trash is almost non-existent.
“That’s what we do to keep the streets clean. We need to keep people happy and as long as we keep people happy, we’ve done our jobs,” White said.
We found Angel Solomon in the water with her friends on Friday.
“I love Virginia Beach. I graduated yesterday, and I like to be back at Virginia Beach. I like the vibe,” she said.