By Associated Press - Monday, March 15, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Business owners in Virginia Beach and North Carolina’s Outer Banks are looking forward to a tourist season that is expected to rebound from the losses suffered during the pandemic last year.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that hoteliers are on a hiring blitz and preparing for more tourists as more people get vaccinated.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said John Zirkle, president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association. “It’s going to be a make or break summer for a lot of hotels.”

Vacation homes are also a large part of the tourist economy. They were a big draw on the Outer Banks last year because of natural social distance that they provide. They are expected to have the same popularity this year.

For instance, Midgett Realty on Hatteras Island said that 100 percent of their peak summer season rentals are already reserved. And all but a few of the 500 homes offered by Brindley Beach Vacations and Sales in Corolla have been claimed.

“It’s going to be another very, very busy year,” said Beth Midgett, reservations manager for Midgett Realty. “A pet friendly, oceanfront house is a rare bird right now.”

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