SFDC Talks Hotels, Local Tourism
The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation organized a panel event Wednesday at the SpringHill Suites on Richmond Highway to discuss the future of the local hospitality industry.
The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) hosted a panel on the current state and future of the hospitality and tourism industry on the Richmond Highway corridor on Wednesday at the SpringHill Suites.
Demographics along the Richmond Highway corridor generally reveal a younger, less-wealthy renter's market compared to the rest of county, according to David Nissenson, Mareth Advisors; however the region is poised to accrue wealth at a faster rate overall.
Barry Biggar of Visit Fairfax spoke on the size and scope of the tourism industry at the national, state and local levels. The Mount Vernon Estate draws in over one million visitors a year, he said, and is part of the "historical triangle" with Gunston Hall and Woodlawn Plantation. (Biggar talked to Patch in December.)
Vik Patel of Baywood Hotesls announced plans for two extended-stay hotels near Fort Belvoir. With the advent of BRAC, he said, there's a demand for extended-stay hotels. However, a lack of vacant land, zoning appraisals and high barriers to entry present challenges locally to hoteliers.
Typically, Patel said he looks for areas with an occupancy rate above 62 to 65 percent. Many chain hotels along the corridor are over the 70 percent threshold.
The morning started off with remarks from Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D), who mentioned the evolution of the corridor from the days of the "no-tell motels" of rampant prostitution. Richmond Highway—Hyland's preferred monicker to what many call 'Route 1'—is now a "place of opportunity and to make money."
Huntington is a prime example of the corridor's present and future opportunities, according to Hyland. Its proximity to Metro has led to recent commercial developments—with a couple more in the planning stages.
For a link to the PowerPoint presentation from Wednesday, click here.
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