By Associated Press - Sunday, April 11, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Omaha economy will get a significant boost from hosting the entire NCAA volleyball championship tournament over the next two weeks.

For instance, when the NCAA decided to move the entire tournament to the city instead of just holding the Final Four in Omaha, the demand for hotel rooms for the teams and officials jumped from 900 nights to 9,400 nights, according to the Omaha World-Herald

Those added hotel rooms alone are expected to generate an $18 million economic impact for the city, said Deborah Ward of Visit Omaha, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. That doesn’t include the money spent by family and friends who come to the city to cheer on their favorite teams.

The economic boost is welcome after so many events have been cancelled in the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The major events cancelled last year included the College World Series, the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials and the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.

“This is the highest level of business we have seen in a long time,” said Steve Hilton, general manager of the Marriott Omaha Downtown at Capitol District, right across the street from the CHI Health Center Omaha. “It’s a step in the right direction for the recovery process and prepares us for bigger things in the future.”

Several other events are expected to follow the volleyball tournament. In June, the Swim Trials will be held after a one-year delay and the College World Series will return. Then in July, the U.S. Senior Open golf championship will be held in the city.

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