VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The North American Sand Soccer Championships are returning to Virginia Beach this weekend after a one-year hiatus. With around 60,000 soccer spectators in Virginia Beach this weekend for the North American Sand Soccer Championships hotels and restaurants are looking forward to the economic boost. This is the first large scale event since Governor Northam lifted all COVID-19 restrictions.
"When you get 60,000 spectators coming to town and 7,000 athletes participating, that’s a lot of people that need a place to stay and a place to eat," John Zirkle said, the president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association.
John Zirkle, who's also the general manager of the DoubleTree Hotel says occupancy rates for oceanfront hotels are in the 90 percent range this weekend.
"It’s fantastic. We have a variety of teams and spectators staying with us. The hotel sold for the next two days with the event in town," Zirkle said.
It’s the same deal at the Ramada Plaza Hotel.
"We are a hundred sold out because of the Sand Soccer tournament," Joseph Dabiero said, the general manger of the Ramada Plaza general manager.
Last year’s championship was canceled because of the pandemic. Both hotel managers say this weekend, they will generate high revenues.
"This tournament is the kickoff of our season," Dabiero said.
The manager of Chicho’s Pizza says he first noticed a huge increase of customers Thursday when families and players started arriving.
"I would say tomorrow and Sunday are to be pretty chaotic down here so we’re looking forward to it," Miles Maher said, a manager at Chicho’s Pizza.
According to the host council of the soccer championship, it’s a huge boost for the local economy.
"For our tournament, its over $15 million based on hotel revenue, restaurants, folks coming from all over the place. Survey is completed by the city of virginia beach every year," Lauren Bland said, the Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Soccer Council.