TACOMA, Wash. — While many businesses aren’t looking beyond 2020 just yet, business leaders in Tacoma are looking ahead to how a new hotel could help boost the local economy.
”For Tacoma, this is a huge thing. For South Sound, Pierce County, it’s huge,” said Tom Pierson, CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.
Pierson said he’s already looking ahead to what the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown, which is attached to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, could mean for the area as a whole, post-coronavirus pandemic.
”It puts us in front of the convention world after COVID, when we’re all coming together," said Pierson.
The new 304-room hotel opened Wednesday, in the backdrop of changing restrictions.
”The last couple days have been slow, but optimistic,” said Ben Osgood, general manager of Marriott Tacoma Downtown.
Osgood said the tourism industry is stronger in Tacoma than in most metropolitan cities, crediting its proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the fact that there just aren’t a lot of hotel options in the downtown area.
The hotel had to hold off on opening its restaurant and is scaling down some services and amenities in order to keep guests safe.
Osgood said the hotel has upgraded HVAC units and is changing filters often.
The hotel staff has also removed anything that can't be sanitized from guest rooms.